What's All This Then?
What's All This Then?
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Frequent co-conspirator Rosecrans Baldwin has a new novel coming. Pre-order The Last Kid Left.
Film writer and reporter David Hudson's column, The Daily, can now be found at Criterion. Great news. Instant bookmark.
Ualach sé chapall de chréna h-úire ort.
So you know, how old is old.
Related to the last, the film is based on this short story by E. L. Doctorow.
Add your line to the Hovering Art Director contest and you could win the action figure. Mine? "Great input, I'm going in the total opposite direction."
"The rig pitched to the south, away from the beach, her derrick cutting obliquely across the sky and her helipad inclining at an angle that to the human eye read as almost apologetic. However terrific a noise this made nobody was around to hear it, bar the seabirds and snails. The police started to arrive around 7am,
as did the first stunned residents.
GQ has a terrific and heartbreaking interview with Nick Cave.
Popular Mechanics gives us their picks for the 100 Best Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
Inside the insane feud between the vegan strip club and the steak house next door. Where? Portland of course.
"The creative abyss is a snowy field. Not an abyss you tiptoe above but the one you must navigate. It is at once an infinity and a vacuum, total noise and total silence, everything and nothing. Your foot hovers; your head swims. To take even a single step into blankness is to enter a maze with boundless options and no clues." Robert Moor on How to Cross a Field of Snow, for Lapham's Quarterly.
Like the Frost piece linked yesterday, this is by Kathryn Schulz, and is excellent. The Five Best Punctuation Marks in Literature. "Nabokov is a daredevil writer, and often a florid one, but what he shows off here is unbestable economy."
Those of us who use "pretty" as an adverb are in pretty good company.
Gruntled, Kempt, and Whelmed, from the American Heritage Dictionary Blog, a mandatory bookmark btw.
"It is the greatest pan-out in the history of verse. We draw away from a man alone in the woods and see man, alone in the woods. As the scale expands, the world diminishes, becomes a snow globe, shaken. And right then, just as we are grasping the nature of our situation — we're fine; we're exhilarated; we're terrified — Frost has the balls to vanish. But he brought us here in the first place!" Brilliant essay on the Terrors and Pleasures of Robert Frost by Kathryn Schulz. Via Clive Thompson.
"'Goddamn it,' he said. 'Well, goddamn it.' And he hung up." Kogan on Royko who died 20 years ago today.
"As you make your way from one fun, freewheeling, well-styled protest to the other, don't forget to text INEEDALAY to our Lay's Potato Chip Lady Protest Line! For each text we receive, we'll donate 17 cents to some sort of lady-related charity as a hollow gesture about equal pay. We'll immediately counteract that hollow gesture by shooting skin tight women's T-shirts emblazoned with I NEED A LAY from a phallic T-shirt gun into the protesting crowd."
"The dining room, deep in the hotel, is a broad space of high ceilings and coving, with thick carpets to muffle the screams. It is decorated in various shades of taupe, biscuit and fuck you."
"Well, look around. A common mistake is not actually seeing women who are over 32, are above a size 8, are mothers, and/or are obviously smarter and more capable than you. This is what women call "being invisible,"which is deceptive since they're just as much of an actual physical life form as you are, except without the sense of entitlement."
Best copywriter portfolio/pitch site ever. Hands down. Meet Joe Coleman.
"For that reason, we will be sending messages exclusively by handwritten letters, tied together by the twine I mentioned earlier and delivered by this courier standing right next to me. His name is Armando, and he is played by Jason Schwartzman. "
Garden & Gun magazine takes a look at Thirty Years of Steel Magnolias.
Long read of the day, Murder in the Lucky Holiday Hotel
"Spines for Senators (S4S) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that gives invertebrate lawmakers the transformational surgeries they so desperately need. For just the cost of a cup of coffee a day, you can sponsor a senator born without a backbone, by which we mean almost all of them."
For St. Pat's, "I was very flattered when Joyce dropped the 'Mister.' Everybody was 'Mister.' There were no Christian names, no first names. The nearest you would get to friendly name was to drop the 'Mister.' I was never 'Sam.' I was always 'Beckett' at the best. We'd drink in any old pub or cafe." This Recording in which Samuel Beckett didn't intend to be a writer.
A classic reference that needs to be revisited periodically. Paul Brians' Commonly Made Suggestions about commonly made errors, and more importantly, Non-Errors, "those usages people keep telling you are wrong but which are actually standard in English." Which is exactly the sort of attitude up with which I will not put
Who gives a f*ck about the oxford comma? Dairy delivery drivers in Maine.
"During her child-led, unstructured playtime on our drives to the Hamptons, she loves to ask our driver Hasaan all about how he rides his camels. He always tells her that not all people from Egypt ride camels and that he has lived in the United States for 27 years. It's become a sweet little inside joke between them."
"...a very grave attempt to do a first-rate piece of work." On today's date in 1939, John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath was published.
The Flight Attendants of Reddit on a great thread, what do the passengers not know.
The Go Fug Yourself ladies remind us if no one else tells you your worth, say it yourself. Right on.
Halls of Fame I Am In, by Jack Handey.
Guys! George is coming back!
"Published in 1570, the year of Scappi's seventieth birthday, it was the world's first illustrated cookbook, a colossal nine-hundred-page tome that includes a thousand recipes and serves as a treatise on cooking as an art form, a courtly pursuit, and a domestic science. It's virtually the only record of Scappi's existence; a fragmentary account of his lifelong enchantment with food, and a veiled lamentation that the old sensibility of sensory delight was being mashed to tasteless pulp under the weight of puritanism."
Product reviews for cat owners.
10 Sci-fi curse words for all occasions.
An Open Letter to People Who Think Leggings are Pants.
"Sentence diagramming is pretty old school: It became popular in classrooms sometime after 1877... The technique turns sentences into graphic structures, also called parse trees, to better understand grammar and literature." Dissecting The Opening Lines Of 25 Famous Novels.
Black Girls Be Boxing, Stella Binion.
Would that I could time-travel and get this to my college-self, The Five Boys Who Will Take You For Granted in College. I dated every. single. one.
Relink. Some things Your Man For Fun In Rapidan says to his dog. My nominee for Best blog post for the years 2010 through 2016.
Don't Dis This Prefix, by Stan Carey.
"When you make a Top 10 list of the places you got to travel to because you didn't get married and have kids, what ranking is Paris?" Security Questions for Single, Childless People, by Shannon Reed.
Two married people in their mid-thirties give the "Seventeen Ultimate Guide to Guys" a try, by Claire Zulkey. Fab.
Related to the last: ASME's Top 40 Magazine Covers of the Last 40 Years
So you know, 52 Places to go in 2017.
Swearing across America.
"There were some things that were just accepted in the 80s and Barbara Cartland's cookbook was one of them." The Romance of Food.
"Instagram (n.): A persistent reminder that people you know can afford more expensive restaurants and better vacations than you." The Verge has updated Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary.
"Ian Andersen spent months as a travelling hockey coach among ancient buddhist temples, Shia Muslim villages and semi nomadic yak herders."
"...he was a First Amendment absolutist who lived to see free speech under siege in his native land, which explains why his impassioned writings about it should now loom so large in memory." Terry Teachout on Nat Hentoff (1925-2017).
"Did you ever notice that 'End of story' is very rarely the end of the story?" Belated Awareness, Earl Pomerantz on writing and revising.
"Since 1922 my book has been a greater reality for me than reality. Everything gives way to it." On this day in 1941 James Joyce died in Zurich at the age of fifty-eight.
Heartbreaking read of the day, "The Concussion Diaries: One High School Football Player's Secret Struggle with CTE"
Marco on ten years of iPhone. Amen.
From The Guardian, the top 10 unreliable narrators.
"You knew this about me, and you knew this about the cows. I made this very clear when we had the argument in front of the ducks. We were at the pond, you made quite the scene, and I had to explain it to you right there - those are my ducks. In the absence of my cows, at this point, they are priority number one in my life. To think I would put you before my ducks is a near wanton absurdity."
"Realize it's Saturday and you were planning to be OOO tomorrow to admire your creation and everything, but I'm hoping you can keep rolling on this through the weekend." Client Feedback on the Creation of the Earth, by Mike Lacher.
LSSU's 42nd annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.
"Lab puppies on a tin are always going to be your number-one seller. A snowman might come second. And Santa - unfortunately for Santa, he's always last. "
"Character confidently says they can do something; character tries but fails to do that thing. Most scripts, somewhere in them, have a Foggy Says He Knows the Way bit." I'm always interested in different types of jargon or "shop-talk," vocabularies specific to a field, trade or industry. For example, Andy Riley explains How To Talk Comedy Writer.
Long read of the day, meet The Man Who Cleans Up After Plane Crashes.
"I must confess to being rather blindsided by the end of our relationship. It seems Captain Von Trapp and I misunderstood each other. I assumed he was looking for a wife of taste and sophistication, who was a dead ringer for Tippi Hedren; instead he wanted to marry a curtain-wearing religious fanatic who shouts every word she says."
Clear, concise breakdown of the timeline of the suspected Russian election hacking on this week's On The Media. Well done.
"If you're looking to smile on the outside while dying a slow, grueling death on the inside — this is the job for you." By Joe Eichner.
"In lieu of flowers, please pay open bar tab." Obituary for Chris Connors. Going out big.
"There's a reason no fondue pot on Earth has been used since 1988. Fondue is a complete pain in the ass. I have three small children. You really think it's a good idea for me to hand them very sharp forks and then put a f*cking CAULDRON of boiling hot cheese on the table, within their reach? Are you f*cking insane? I still have scars on my arm from The Great Beef Fondue Incident Of '85 at my parents' house. And why the hell can't I get this pot in tartan? Get your sh*t together."
Interesting article. Fab headline. Barns Are Painted Red Because of the Physics of Dying Stars, by Rose Eveleth.
This is wonderful, Prince's Closest Friends Share Their Best Prince Stories.
"Conway, 77, claims never to have worked a day in his life. Instead, he purports to have frittered away reams and reams of time playing. Yet he is Princeton's John von Neumann Professor in Applied and Computational Mathematics..." John Conway's Life in Games, by Siobhan Roberts.
"In an e-mail to readers on Monday, editors of the Dunbar Family Annual Christmas Update announced that due to logistical constraints, they had decided to cease print publication of the newsletter, which will move to a web-only distribution model."
"But now I know what I need to do to make this sh*t right again. I'm gonna make some overdue amends with the harvest gods and gather up every last scrap of Fall I can find, pile it on top of that mouse toilet, then douse it with a nice big can of autumnal gasoline and torch this expired-assed season to kingdom f*cking come. Fall is f*cking over, f*ckheads. " (If you can't handle the swears, don't click but you'll be missing a masterpiece.)
So you know, what Astronauts eat on Thanksgiving.
So you know, how to eat as much food as humanly possible this Thanksgiving.
So you know, the 2016 nominees for Bad Sex in Fiction have been announced. Cows chewing grass? Winner, hands down.
"And just like that, Redgrave knew who her next TA would be. She drank him in, the combination of nubility and fragile academic curiosity and knew he'd fall for her wise advisor act. Kid had mommy issues written all over him. This semester was looking up."
911 DISPATCHER: Margaret, what's happening?
CALLER: Really, I prefer Peggy. My son - he swallowed my Pinterest pins!
911 DISPATCHER: Is he breathing, ma'am?
CALLER: Yes, he is Living, Loving, Breathing on a piece of distressed, recycled wood.
I thought my to-do list was pretty long, then I took a look at Thomas Edison's 1888 to-do list. Feeling pretty inadequate right about now.
Humorous, Formal, Offensive, Literary, a series of articles on dictionary style labels, by Stan Carey.
"This is the sense in which 120 Days of Sodom can be considered an 'office novel.' It is also, bizarrely, a comedy; it is the story of a highly successful office and how it works." Sodom, LLC, by Lucy Ives. From the new issue of Lapham's Quarterly, Flesh.
Inside the 21st-Century Craze for Redesigning Everything. Great piece in the NYT Mag by Rob Walker.
"On Fridays males will lead all meetings regardless of knowledge and qualifications for doing so. In addition, men will take credit for team accomplishments and work completed on those days."
My favorite part of Halloween, Jezebel's annual reader-submitted scariest stories.
"Interviewer: Great! I'm going to pretend that I don't know what you're doing and go along with your guise of being confident. You pretend really well! Me: Thank you so much! I've been honing my pretending skills for a while. I've had several of these interviews and some of them have even resulted in actual jobs." A Brutally Honest Social Media Job Interview, by Sarah Fader.
Halloween costume tips, courtesy of an 18th-century demonology book.
1816 was the year without a summer. Chris Townsend on the Climate Event That Helped Create Frankenstein and the Bicycle.
Long read of the day, Into the Storm: The True Story of a Harrowing Ocean Rescue. For more on the second ship involved, the El Faro, read this.
Ode to a vanishing style of writing, The Lost Virtue of Cursive.
I am pretty much in agreement with Kurt Vonnegut's own report card, for which he graded his novels, except I'd say he's a bit hard on Breakfast of Champions.
in the NYT, Dan Barry tells the amazing story of Maury "Pro" Lerner, minor league baseball star turned mob hit man.
Time-lapse footage of 52,000 books being reshelved in preparation for the reopening of the Rose Main Reading Room at the NYPL. Hypnotizing.
"On New Year's Day in 1985, Eastern Air Lines Flight 980 was carrying 29 passengers and a hell of a lot of contraband when it crashed into the side of a 21,112-foot mountain in Bolivia. For decades conspiracy theories abounded as the wreckage remained inaccessible, the bodies unrecovered, the black box missing. Then two friends from Boston organized an expedition that would blow the case wide open.
"Read the letter in full below, in all its exuberant egotism." An 18-year-old James Joyce Writes to Henrik Ibsen.
A leopard is bigger than a cheetah, though both have spots. Definiteness, Plurality, and Genericity, filed by Mark Liberman.
Well, this should make for an awkward Thanksgiving. (Nice headline btw, I see what you did there)
According to GQ, Irish crime fiction is the new Scandinavian crime fiction. I can 100% agree that Tana French is awesome, love all her books and looking forward to reading the latest.
Great quick read, How Hollywood Gets Its Old-School Tech.
"Garbage bag couture looks great with some original graffiti art too. If you are handy with the needle, cut a piece of foam rubber sheeting into a jerkin, seam shoulders and sides. Wear over a long-sleeved T-shirt and ti waist with cord or chain." How to Look Punk.
An annual tradition, It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherf*ckers.
jake Kerridge's 20 best spy novels of all time is pretty solid and perhaps they allowed only one per author but you simply can't leave out George Smiley.
"Many of these original books focus on life's lessons, joys, and curiosities. Gackley cleverly takes the books' classic covers and turns them into unforgettable, edgy, politically incorrect parodies that speak to the bad little kid in all of us." Bad Little Children's Books.
Related to the last, a classic reference that needs to be revisited periodically. Paul Brians' Commonly Made Suggestions about commonly made errors, and more importantly, Non-Errors, "those usages people keep telling you are wrong but which are actually standard in English." Which is exactly the sort of attitude up with which I will not put.
Unhand That Comma! Jill Abramson and Steven Pinker talk punctuation with the Harvard Gazette.
"If you are lucky enough to have natural immunity to the Cornucopia of Sadness, take it upon yourself to look out for your fellow tribe members straggling behind the pack. They can often be found napping in parked cars, alone at the movies on a Monday, or gently weeping in the Target bathroom." Fall Into Perpetual Darkness, by Sarah Hutto.
"Many coworkers and friends ask me, 'why would you want to live like that?' and I always answer with an exhausted, 'why not?' Who needs space, time and hobbies, independent from their beloved, when the enraged bellows of marital misery can easily echo through our tiny bungalow, igniting years of loveless complacency."
So you know, what makes things creepy.
One of the earliest science fiction books was written in the 1600s by Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle.
Great city guide from The Guardian about Bend, OR. Just spent a week there with my family and and 100% recommend it. It's fabulous.
A fantastic redesign of The Morning News is up today. Yowza.
Local Note. Ode to Herb Kent, by Jamila Woods of The Bomb Squad.
Anne Cruzan "started wondering the other day whether — and how badly — one can misuse the dash."
Michiko Kakutani on The Pigeon Tunnel, John Le Carré, the Con Man's Son: Writer, Liar, Survivor, Spy.
Read of the day, Marvel, Jack Kirby, and the Comic-Book Artist's Plight.
"Go ahead and choose whichever bed you want - Edwin needs to sleep in this adult-sized baby swing we had constructed for him. Just keep it on the lowest setting playing "Hush little baby, don't say a word..." on repeat throughout the night. The timer runs out every 60 minutes so you'll need to wake up every hour to press the button.
Take 13 minutes out of your day to listen to this really great story of Why the 1992 Loop Flood is the Most Chicago Story Ever.
"The 15th-century document is written in an unknown, apparently encrypted language that has defied every code breaker's efforts. It's illustrated with unknown or imaginary plants and never-seen constellations. The only copy is locked away at Yale University to protect the book; scans online are the closest most mortals can get to viewing its pages." Think you're smart enough to break the code? Place your pre-order today.
Today, the National Parks celebrate turning 100. Before the National Park Service, Yellowstone was guarded by the calvary. Without them, we might not have national parks today. One more thing to say thank you for to the U.S. Army.
Unexplained is a bi-weekly podcast about strange and mysterious real life events that continue to evade explanation.
"One by one, Prince painted white dots on our faces. He gave us little envelopes and pencils. 'Tonight is probably the most special part of camp.' Beginning in a moment, and lasting about an hour, there'd be camp-wide silence, during which we should roam the grounds in silence, then at some point open the envelope and follow the instructions inside." Rosecrans went to camp, adult camp.
"...neither a version nor a crib: it is more like classics homework." Seamus Haney's translation of Book VI of the Aeneid. Purchased.
Places Van Morrison Thinks He May Have Left His Keys, by Jack Lewis.
Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing. Fucking great.
Still Life with Cone, Standpipe, Caution Tape. Peter Keyes on the art and architecture of the temporary barricade.
NPR chats with John Dickerson about his new book, Whistlestop.
Interesting story from KCET about how the small California island somehow avoided mass plunder over the centuries: "How Catalina Evaded the Conquest."
"Look at me, how important I must be, with all the... busy." A Precious Hour, by Michael Lopp. Amen.
"What's strange is coming home and reliving the childhood I originally wanted to escape." Moving Back to My Big Dumb Hometown, great piece by Claire Zulkey.
The Future of Archaeology Is Spacejunk, by Geoff Manaugh.
"Do donkeys mirror your life? Or do you see your life mirrored by your donkeys? The order doesn't really matter." Nikkitha Bakshani interviews very small publishers. for TMN.
"His reputation as an outstanding translator was built on his 1967 version of the novel Rayuela (Hopscotch) by Julio Cortazar. RIP Gregory Rabassa.
On this day in 1964 the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling that found Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer to be obscene. Also the "SLAPS" test.
Related to the last, fun lingo, The Argot of the Racetrack by David W. Maurer for The American Dialect Society, 1951.
"Good fortune is light as a feather, but nobody knows how to hold it up." Oil in the Can, Eric Banks on the history of handicapping. Great piece.
"She was dying, dying, omg, and then proclaimed dead." Obituaries for Teenage Girls if They Actually Died When They Say They're Dying, by Karen Chee.
According to the The Comma Queen herself, if you want to sound pompous use the reflexive pronoun.
"We must hold our Congress accountable for arming criminals and terrorists with military-style weapons." Make It Stop. Amen.
"Silence, exile and cunning." Djuna Barnes' interview with Joyce, Vanity Fair, March 1922. (pdf)
Joyce's wife Nora once asked, "I guess the man's a genius, but what a dirty mind he has, hasn't he?" She ought to know.
Terence Killeen on the difficult-to-navigate and not especially well scanned, treasure trove of James Joyce manuscripts placed online by the National Library of Ireland. Just dive in. Amazing.
"It's like stumbling into a field of diamonds — hard, brilliant flashes of light everywhere." Frank Delaney on seeing, rather than reading Joyce.
In 1934, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld an earlier ruling allowing James Joyce's Ulysses into America.
The Origins of Bloomsday.
Open Culture on everything you need to enjoy reading James Joyce's Ulysses, including what Stephen Fry has to say about it.
James Joyce reading "Anna Livia Plurabelle" from Ulysses in 1929. Plus, Sylvia Beach tells the story of how the the recording was made.
Still scandalous after all these years. Adam Thirlwell reviews The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses by Kevin Birmingham. Illustrated by my all-time fave photo of Joyce.
"Mr. Joyce manages to give the effect of unedited human minds, drifting aimlessly along from one triviality to another, confused and diverted by memory, by sensation and by inhibition, is, in short, perhaps the most faithful X-ray ever taken of the ordinary human consciousness." Edmund Wilson's July 5, 1922 review of Ulysses
In 1906, James Joyce wrote to his brother Stanislaus and in a PPS, he added "that he had a new story for Dubliners in his head, one that dealt with Mr Hunter."
"One is the most innovative writer of the 20th century, the other is James Joyce. Can you distinguish between sentences written by the Irish novelist and the lyrics of surrealist rapper Kool Keith?"
So you know, a brief history of children sent through the mail.
"I finished the letter, made some minor adjustments, and then read the completed version to myself. What I noticed was that, virtually effortlessly, I had written exactly the letter I had intended to write." The Unusable Shamu and when Earl Pomerantz knew he was a writer.
Bierut on Chwast.
"Manta and I go back, like, fifty years, so we understand each other. Whatever issues we had in the past, they're buried at the bottom of the ocean. Our routine is to meet up for brunch on Sundays. I'm on the Upper West Side, he's in Battery Park. We usually meet at Buvette for their steamed eggs. A-mazing."
That which is that. Your periodic lesson from The Comma Queen.
Checking in with My Animal Crossing Town after a Year, by Joshua Allen.
Now that's a Press Release. Cards Against Humanity Announces Event to Occur.
"A donut is a donut. Stop acting like your recipes were acquired from a thick-accented grandmother on her deathbed who devoted her life to crafting the perfect donut, as though she smuggled notes out from a war-torn dictatorship, coming to this country with no money, only dreams that one day a donut shop serving her creations would open on a recently gentrified street." Can be applied to any city really.
Long read of the day, A Severed Head, Two Cops, and the Radical Future of Interrogation.
"We're working green, rooty banks deep in the wind-sheltered backcountry of the Ten Thousand Islands, where open water and mangroves blanket the miles like a vernal doily. I stop the cast abruptly and the fly plops almost delicately just to the right of a copper-colored smear in the water. The fish turns and slashes and then it's off and gone, streaking across an open pond.
"I put him in an empty room and let him stay there for eight pages, only thinking." A Farewell to Kurt Wallander (Probably), at Prospero.
"Quiet! I don't want excuses, James. Don't even TRY the old, 'But Moommm, my tonalist aesthetic allows me to subtly yet poignantly express the fundamental melancholy and mystery of the natural world.' That will not work on me." Whistler's Mother Has Just About Had It, by Isabella Giovannini.
Complex has a great interview with Chance the Rapper and Lin-Manuel-Miranda
Casey Kait's CV of Personal Failures.
So you know, 10 power tools that could kill you.
Related to the last, Zadie Smith reads Frank O'Hara's "Animals."
Take one minute to listen to Robert Frost read "The Road Not Taken."
Long read of the day, The Complicated Sisterhood of Jackie Kennedy and Lee Radziwill
"For years Donald Heathfield, Tracey Foley and their two children lived the American dream. Then an FBI raid revealed the truth: they were agents of Putin's Russia. Their sons tell their story.
"Fred Harvey was said to have 'civilized the West' by bringing middle-class values to hardscrabble frontier towns, but his real accomplishments were more impressive: Harvey's business model established the modern chain restaurant, created a major tourist market for Native American art, and gave opportunity to scores of young women escaping the confines of their Midwestern upbringings."
"I don't want to wait for my coffee. I don't want some man-bun, Mumford and Son motherf*cker to get it for me. I like good coffee but I don't want to wait for it, and I don't want it with the cast of Friends. It's a beverage; it's not a lifestyle."
"Largely referred to as Chicago's front yard, Grant Park and its immediate vicinity is a series of green spaces which have always been in a constant state of change and renewal. As part of Renovations Week, here is a look into the history of how a lakefront was shaped over the years.
"A former 1960s bondage-film actress is waging legal combat with a toy company for ownership of her husband's mail-order aquatic-pet empire." The Battle Over the Sea-Monkey Fortune.
Jon Sands' 11-poem cycle,The Perfect Mix is available free at Rattapallax. You'll thank me later.
"At the moment, our dojo of utmost secrecy only has a mere three-star rating on our Yelp page. Our poor online presence has really put a damper on business. It's embarrassing. I've been a mystical karate master for centuries and these consumer-feedback websites are unraveling all the work I've done. Currently, the YMCA Martial Arts Center of Rancho Cucamonga has a higher rating than us..
Indiana Is Weird, by Criag Fehrman for 538.
Required listening: On the Media's episode marking the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death, or whoever he really was: "On Shakespeare."
"...sometimes, the harder that we try to be clear-headed, the deeper we are drawn into the fog." Who Will Debunk The Debunkers?, by Dan Engbar.
"...if you want to make something really great, you can't think about making it great for everyone. You have to make it great for someone." Your Media Business Will Not Be Saved, by Josh Topolsky. Amen.
So you know, when "a thing" became a thing.
"Food is the product of love and labor, usually in equal parts. When left behind, it reminds us that our loved ones were once very much alive." Lovely.
"The FFA was huge in my school. I had no idea about rap music or modernism or design or philosophy or Andy Warhol or 70s film or atheism. I didn't know what I didn't know and had very little way of finding out." Kottke on technology, culture, and growing up in a small town. See also the basis of this post by Rex Sorgatz, Netflix and Ch-Ch-Chilly. Now that's blogging people.
What Maisie Knew.
Tell Me Your Favorite Slow Jam, and I'll Tell You What Beverage You're Currently Crying Into, by Rachel Lyon.
A poem could be "a mixture of the kitchen and the cosmos." On this day in 1939 Seamus Heaney was born.
"Change like this slows down time." Like travel, relocation seems to have a magical effect. See this 2011 post by Steven Johnson, Go West, Middle-Aged Man.
"I hope everyone understands that I'm not writing this because I hate the people in my industry. The fact that I hate the people in my industry is completely beside the point. I'm doing it for all the things that public radio or private content distribution companies or —you know what, let's just call the whole deal EAR THINGS. I'm doing it for all that EAR THINGS could be." John Moe, prescient as ever.
"To know what you're going to draw, you have to begin drawing..." Picasso, who died on this day in 1973, on intuition.
"To put Dan Jenkins' longevity in perspective, Jordan Spieth's parents weren't born when he covered his first Masters." Ed Sherman on the great Dan Jenkins.
So you know, how the Hamburger Helper mixtape went down.
"Everyone works in vast, open spaces, crammed next to one another like seamstresses in Bangladeshi shirt factories, only instead of being hunched over sewing machines people are hunched over laptops. Nerf-gun battles rage, with people firing weapons from behind giant flat-panel monitors, ducking and rolling under desks. People hold standing meetings and even walking meetings, meaning the whole group goes for a walk and the meeting takes place while you're walking."
"Where is this gay lake, Diana Ross?" Patricia Lockwood's Long, Dark Night in Trumplandia. Fab.
How an unlikely friendship between a Northern industrialist named Samuel Colt and legendary Texas Ranger Samuel Walker forged the revolvers that won the West. Two Sams and Their Six Shooter.
"We propose here a network visualization in which each character is represented by a node connected with the characters that appear in the same scenes." Network Visualization: Mapping Shakespeare's Tragedies, by Martin Grand Jean.
"A large part of writing is a recognition factor, to have read enough to know what good writing is. Finally, what Wallace Stevens said, which I love and which is hard to explain to younger writers, is that technique is the proof of your seriousness." Jim Harrison on The Art of Fiction, for Paris Review.
Long read of the day, The Violin Thief.
A recommendation for a book being released this week, and not just because it's about my grandfather: Blackie: Captain Harold F. Blackburn, A Pioneering, Twentieth Century Pilot In Peace and War.
Long read of the day: "Rise and Stall: The Political Trajectory of Marco Rubio" from Alex Leary at the Tampa Bay Times.
More on the singular "their" from Mark Liberman at Language Log. Everyone in the comments thinks they are right.
"6. Please do not query us with short story collections or poetry. Remember we work on commission and have mortgages to pay." Please Read Our Agency's Updated Submission Guidelines, by Marcy Campbell.
Many copy editors, journalists, grammarians, lexicographers, and linguists—stand ready to embrace the singular "their." But not the Comma Queen.
Smart analysis, nice photo.
In its own way this is quite beautiful. Thanks to The Chicago Manual of Style.
"The damn Slytherin kids almost refused to even let me into their common room until I explained to them what Spotify is." The Setup Wizard
USA's Northeast Megalopolis from Space
Vanity Fair takes a look at The Mystery of the Maltese Falcon, One of the Most Valuable Movie Props in History.
RIP Umberto Eco.
"One day in 1978, a friend told me she wanted to oversee the publication of a string of little detective novels written by amateur writers. I said there was no way I could write a detective story, but if I ever did write one it would be a five-hundred-page book with medieval monks as characters. That day, returning home, I began making a list of names of fictional medieval monks. Later the image of a poisoned monk suddenly emerged in my mind. It all started from there, from that one image. It became an irresistible urge." Paris Review interview with the great Umberto Eco.
"For example, that day in the post office, I scored: The man in front of me went nuts, leading to 20 minutes of high-quality eavesdropping." Throw Away Your Earbuds, Boredom is Good, by Rosecrans Baldwin.
Ernest Hemingway satirized Sherwood Anderson to get a publishing contract cancelled on this day in 1926.
"Her name is Elsbeth but I call her elsbitch" "This is going well already." Ben Rosen's little sister taught him how to Snapchat.
Marcus is reading one book about each president from November 8, 2015 until November 8, 2016 Election Day.
Shakespeare's original pronunciation sounds amazing (and unveils ribald puns).
A read that starts off as one thing and goes somewhere else entirely (and then some): "What the Heck is a Catch in the NFL, Anyway?"
"River North is the worst. Like, the actual worst. OK, yeah, it's pretty with all its luxury high-rises, startup offices, and AVEDA salons, but let's be honest: River North is where you go when you want to get into hour-long arguments about the validity of global warming with a 45-year-old drunk finance bro who believes the environmental movement is a Marxist plot." Spot. On. Vice gives us their City Guide to Chicago.
100 Jokes that Shaped Modern Comedy.
The Inside Story of Uber's Radical Rebranding.
The Strippers, J.F.K. and Stalin, the Comma Queen on, well, you know.
Paul Ford's What is Code? wins a National Magazine Award. Awesome.
"Positives: Only missed one day. Negatives: Self-indulgent ramblings of a nonsensical person who occasionally, halfheartedly tries to be helpful." Susannah's January Blogging Self-Analysis.
"We've seen Janet's vocal range in the past, but she takes things to new heights on the album's most stripped-down effort. This track deals with our sex life, and Janet spares no detail. From the unsettling description of my body to the no holds-barred revelations concerning my endurance and general aptitude, this one deserves a couple of listens. Pay special attention to the vocal solo where she mocks the noises I make when I climax."
"I made the mistake of falling for a man who wants a wife. I should clarify that I do not mean he wants me to be his wife. Men don't look at me and think I'd make good wife material. Maybe because of how much I swear." St. Teresa and the Single Ladies, by Jessa Crispin.
"The title track is a blistering response to my many shortcomings. Over pounding drums and a relentless funk beat, Janet enumerates the various ways in which I failed to live up to her expectations." A Music Critic Reviews His Ex-Wife's New Solo Album, by Matt Stofsky.
Dear Orwell. "And after all, your pigs are far more intelligent than the other animals, and therefore the best qualified to run the farm—in fact, there couldn't have been an Animal Farm at all without them: so that what was needed, (someone might argue), was not more communism but more public-spirited pigs." —T.S. Eliot.
So, you're saying no?
"As a format for recorded sound, the cassette tape is a terrible piece of technology. It's a roll of tape in a box. It's essentially an office supply." Rosecrans Baldwin on Our Misplaced Nostalgia for Cassette Tapes.
"Was there a sense, when you saw it, that the audience was just fervently hoping, like inside of their muscles and organs and fascia, that the movie would not be horrible garbage, that they could allow themselves to just adore something they wanted to adore, and that there was a palpable sense of relief after the first five minutes, that it was clear that if nothing else, this movie would not be horrible garbage?" If you're only going to read one TFA essay, make it Movie Yelling With Mallory and Mallory.
Reading The Year Kenny Loggins Ruined Christmas is a beloved holiday tradition at the BB house.
The New Yorker gives us an interesting list of Best Facts Learned From Books in 2015.
These maps show one book worth reading from every country in the world.
The Comma Queen on the ellipsis... Yadda Yadda Yadda.
"The kid watches from the window and catches the squat's eye and waves. A grin cuts across his djinnish face and he laughs. The great gloom of the world is for him an hysterical vaudeville. He laughs again. He laughs so hard he pisses himself, sh*ts himself, his trousers are a bog teemed with alien fish and toad. He vomits from the stench. He laughs like the untold billions before him who laughed in the endless desert and from dark high places and crawling up out of seaweed water. Son of Man, child of God."
"FALSE. Except for the part about Chloe finishing tenth grade, this paragraph appears to be entirely fabricated." Fact Checking the Anderson Family Holiday Letter, by Allen Rein.
Choosing the right neurosurgeon "can be a daunting task. That's why the American Medical Association has prepared a standard list of questions for patients to ask before any first consultation." By John Flowers.
Steven Heller writes about our buddies at the Hamilton Wood Type Museum.
"In the middle of the night, Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl grabs a notebook, snacks, water, some cash. Then he quietly slips off a remote U.S. Army outpost in eastern Afghanistan and into the dark, open desert. About 20 minutes later, it occurs to him: he's in over his head." Welcome to the first episode of Serial season two.
"How is it that this novel could be sexy, entertaining, experimental, politically radical, and wildly popular all at once? Its success was no sure thing, and the story of how it came about is a crucial and little-known chapter in the literary history of the last half-century." The Secret History of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Paul Elie.
NPR gives us their picks for the Great Reads of 2015.
Why were knights often fighting snails in the margins of medieval texts?
Access Denied, by John Herrman. Smart, long piece on media and social platforms.
NYTBR Top 10 for 2015.
Brine, Snark, Brunch, and Whole Foods. The Four Horsemen of Gentrification.
If you're an internet early-adopter who still laments the demise of Suck.com, get 20-year old stories emailed to you from Suck, Again.
Adele Dials the Wrong Number
Traditional Wedding Anniversary Gifts from Memory, by Jez Burrows.
FastCo takes a look at How Apple is Giving Design a Bad Name.
The Atlantic takes us on a visit to the room where the internet was born.
"11. But you are angry. You had a terrible boss. He typed like he wanted to break the keyboard and that was really grating. Everything about him makes you hate Yale." So you know, how to read a classic book, by Mara Beckman.
Akira Okrent on words that survived by getting fossilized in idioms. See also, weirdly spelled words, and how they got that way
"Nearly 60 million people are currently displaced from their homes by war and
persecution - more than at any time since World War II. Half are children. This multimedia
journey in text, photographs and virtual reality tells the stories of three of them.
My friend has a baby
and owns a boutique
I just bought a cactus
it died in a week.
- Quarter Life Poetry
Samuel Clemens purchased one of the very first "new fangled writing machines" produced by E. Remington and Sons.
"The most meaningful experiences I have, the experiences that give me the greatest insight into the operation of culture over time—something over which historians used to hold a monopoly—are the results of database queries." How Paul Ford reads.
The NYT talks to the writers of the X-Files most disturbing episode.
Prepare to fall down the rabbit hole, Jezebel's annual Spooky Stories contest. This year's submissions are in the comment section but read Look at Me from last year, still takes the cake as the scariest for me.
"Baseball is awful because we would even expect Edinson Volquez to pitch on a day like that day, and it's salvation because what would any of us want to do more for our fathers than pitch Game One of the World Series?" Great piece by Sam Miller for Baseball Prospectus on a "sort of a miracle."
"...making it powerfully convenient that farther is farther from forth than further is." Caleb Crain goes the distance on a vexing usage question.
The stressful world of adult spelling bees.
"If you see the world as gloomily as I see it, the only thing to do is laugh or shoot yourself. My guy does both." Happy birthday to David John Moore Cornwell, aka John le Carre. Here's a great 1996 interview conducted by George Plimpton.
"Did we really land on the Moon? Maybe. I know I didn't." Rebunking Conspiracy Theories, by Keaton Patti.
"The web, as it appears at any one moment, is a phantasmagoria. It's not a place in any reliable sense of the word. It is not a repository. It is not a library. It is a constantly changing patchwork of perpetual nowness." Raiders of the Lost Web.
Ermahgerd! They found her.
It's getting close to Halloween and I haven't reposted it for almost a month, so here it is: Cruel Nicknames for Overweight Vampires.
Thieves in the Kenyon Review archives. The Unseen Theft of America's Literary History, by Travis McDade.
Interesting read on what our city might be like if the Great Chicago Fire never happened.
The Not-So Bright One. Sam Stecklow on the demise of the The Chicago Sun-Times. Sad story. Sadder product. Just shoot it and put it out of its misery.
In honor of National Poetry Day today, check out our Verse By Voice.
Reasons why Ali Garfinkel's printer never works.
Wired takes a look Behind the Scenes at Ikea's Top-Secret Furniture Lab.
"It's raining old women with clubs" and 14 other idioms that describe heavy rain in different languages.
"At first, I suspected the Valencia filter, with its yellow gleam, might perfectly complement Oliver's adorable ruddiness. But then I thought, You know what? No filter. And this, in fact, became the crown jewel on the top of my caption." The Tell-Tale 'Gram, by Brent Katz and Sarah Beller.
"It was supposed to be a quiet meeting of regional clubs at a local Waco breastaurant. Instead, nine men were killed, 20 were wounded, and 177 wound up in jail. Was it a turf war gone mad? Or a botched police response? Nathaniel Penn reports on how the bloodiest day in biker history went down."
"...the clearest horseshit detector is to read it out loud. You can always tell when you're putting on airs or lying when you hear yourself say it." George Plimpton's interview with Garrison Keillor from The Paris Review, 1995. Via Tufte.
Happy birthday Caravaggio.
"It is a sin, she said, to damage the spine." The Pleasures of Destroying a Good Book, by Nick Ripatrazone.
Meet the Most Powerful Force in the Star Wars Universe: The Man Who Makes the Toys.
The Facebook of 400 years ago.
Annual repost for the first day of Fall, It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherf*ckers.
So you know, how Pantone became the definitive language of color.
The most misread poem in America.
"People using ambiguous mediums think they are communicating clearly because they know what they mean to say, receivers are unable to get this meaning accurately but are certain that they have interpreted the message accurately, and both are amazed that the other side can be so stupid." Why We Can't Get Over Ourselves, by Nicholas Epley. Via Buzz.
"The Krays, of course, wanted everyone to know who they were. They may have been failures as professional criminals, but by the time they were sentenced to life in prison at the age of 35, their brand was already a phenomenal success."
"You can characterize our operating model as stubbornness and stupidity. We were too stubborn to quit,' said National Audio Company President Steve Stepp." A look at the one of the last manufacturers of cassette tapes.
"Four dead, an ever-expanding list of suspects, dozens of detectives on the case. Three years after the fact, a mysterious shooting in the French Alps has evolved into one of the most confounding, globe- spanning criminal investigations in decades." Part one of six.
"TECHNICIAN: Thank you for calling Mamet's Appliance Center, today. The f*ck you want?"
One star Yelp reviews of national parks
This can't possibly be true. That much time couldn't have passed already. "It's Time to Celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the Release of Our First Book, The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature."
"They have one good song. And even that song is only seventy percent good." An Open Letter to 17-Year-Old Boys Who Just Discovered The Doors, by Brad Lawrence.
Judge books by their covers
Lean Cuisine Meals for the Newly Single
An online annotated edition of Alice's Adventures In Wonderland featuring twelve Lewis Carroll scholars taking one chapter each, plus new artwork and remixes from classic 1865 and 1905 illustrations.
"Forty-five years after the publication of James Dickey's acclaimed novel, an oral history of one of the most unforgettable Southern movies of all time." Delivering Deliverance
Typewriter Art: A Modern Anthology, by Barrie Tullett. Looks great.
"Social media makes it easy to virtually tour our neighbors' homes—and really, their entire lives. The hard part: finding the clear divide between entertainment and cyberstalking." The Downstairs Gays, by John Sherman for TMN.
"At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another's ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are 'unreasonably high.' The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another's bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others."
"Problem is, Jesus never had a sense for business." Donald Trump, Through the Ages, by John Flowers.
A peek inside the world's oldest printed book.
"In the wake of the school closing in Cold Bay, a shrinking town just a short hop from the Aleutian Islands, 13-year-old Wake Kremer has become the last school-aged kid in town."
"Based on his performance in Thursday night's debate, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has emerged as a leading candidate to manage an Enterprise Rent-a-Car branch, Enterprise has confirmed."
"Hell is Empty and All the Devils are Here: A Shakespearean Guide to the 2016 Republican Primary."
So you know, the Great Sushi Craze of 1905, Part One.
"I was super looking forward to having a newborn baby because I had been talking to some people who had said they had a great experience. Calling this a disappointment is an understatement. Long, grueling hours with no pay and an unnatural amount of street (which no one ever fully explained). Tons of hidden costs and fees. If I could give it zero stars I would."
"Each year, I keep a running list of exceptional nonfiction that I encounter as I publish The Best of Journalism, an email newsletter that I send out once or twice a week. This is my annual attempt to bring some of those stories to a wider audience." Roughly 100 Fantastic Pieces of Journalism. See you in awhile.
"There is nothing worthy or permanent in life that is not clean, and in its plans and purposes the new Saturday Evening Post preaches and practices the gospel of cleanliness." This date in 1821 brought the very first issue Saturday Evening Post.
"Since the massacre in its Paris offices, Charlie Hebdo has seen a reported influx of $33 million due to skyrocketing sales, subscriptions, and donations. Probing the tension this sudden wealth has created within the staff and the country, Roger Cohen explains why Charlie Hebdo's fate is so important.
"If Dad hadn't shot Walt Disney in the leg, it would have been our best vacation ever!" That's the first sentence of "Vacation '58" by John Hughes, the story that launched the movies.
Inside the 2015 Man Booker Longlist.
"Dictionaries are a lagging indicator." I'm with Adam Nathaniel Peck when he says to stop capitalizing the word internet.
Notes on Your Novel.
"...if you're feeling faint or need to get out of the sun PLEASE remember to do so." So you know, how to make a to-do list for your to-do lists, by Nicholas Ciccone.
Two Medieval Monks Invent Bestiaries.
A new episode of Wedded Blitz by Katie Baker is always welcome.
"Did the government shut down Blue Bell because of its two-part plan to both demoralize Texas and seize Blue Bell's distribution centers and fleet of refrigerated trucks to use as 'hidden-in-plain-sight' mobile morgues? And why did those trucks apparently have a military escort?"
What did you do in the design studio today, Daddy?, by Abbott Miller.
Learn to read Russian in 15 minutes.
Long read of the day, A Long Walk's End.
"I am applying for your social media specialist position. Though I am a recent graduate with an entirely irrelevant degree in Ancient Latvian Pastel Art Interpretation Through Lithuanian Chamber Music and Hungarian Novelists, I believe my extensive experience in social media maintenance as publicist for the Patriots College Star Wars Club has more than prepared me for the rigors of this position."
An annual tradition, Morning Edition celebrates the 4th of July with the reading of the Declaration of Independence .
I remember how horrible this was, the city was unbearable. Chicago Magazine takes a look at the 1995 Chicago heat wave.
"Just imagine it. The future sprayed before us in black-lit neon graffiti, like our own nicotine-free fairy tale. Us investing a grand total of $1,500 to get the store off the ground. It becoming wildly popular inside of a week. Raising a family, growing old, handing the business down to our children once they're old enough to be douchebags."
A richly illustrated book full of never-before published typewriter memorabilia, intriguing historical documents and entertaining anecdotes, The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine is a beautiful ode to an all-but-obsolete creative companion.
"I thought you were a harbinger of Death," I told him. "I get that a lot," he said, peering down at the place on the clipboard where I had signed. "Spell your last name?" Le Blog de Jean-Paul Sartre, by Bill Barol. Via This Isn't Happiness.
NOT A POGUE. Where's Cait?
Happy Bloomsday, here's WB Yeats' receipt for his copy of Ulysses.
So you know, 10 surprises about the Magna Carta on its 800th birthday.
"Pray God it not be a single and unique success." Happy 100th birthday to The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
An important list, the 50 Most-Read McSweeney's Internet Tendency Articles of All-Time.
"You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world."
Long read of the day, How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti and Built Six Homes. I always find a donation alternative to them.
"So if not best, then what? Nothing. Don't sign off at all." Cheers.
"To spur interactions between departments, all desks will be mounted on wheels and arranged into four-desk clusters. At random intervals throughout the day, a whistle will blow, at which point you should quickly roll your desk into a new cluster. Leftover employees who don't fit into a four-desk cluster will have their salaries docked."
Related to below, Don Winslow's fabulous Dawn Patrol.
To be thirteen, with a surfboard, in Hawaii. Off Diamond Head.
"And so Americans may joke at the expense of the fallen, but we keep electing them to public office. We keep paying to see their movies and download their music. It's the intensely American desire, or arrogance, that celebrates a success story, even if it's someone else's." Christine Grimaldi is Glad She's Not You.
Kingsley Amis on madness.
"My great-grandfather did it, my grandfather did it, my father still does it. It's always awkward, like bringing your accordion to work. Who writes poems anymore, let alone reads them out loud?" When The Family Business Is Ribald Wedding Poetry, by Rosecrans Baldwin.
"Listen, you can park your car wherever you want down here. All night long. Wherever you want..." Sexting With a New Yorker, by Jeanne Darst.
Great read, full of surprises. Wired's feature on The Untold Story of Industrial Light & Magic, by Alex French and Howie Khan.
"The Rockefellers, the Mellons, the Hiltons, all the great family fortunes started out with con men. Nobody makes real scratch out of nothing without bending a few rules." We Buy Broken Gold, by Clancy Martin.
The Beautiful Universe of a Typomanic.
"Comprised of the tales of both famous and lesser-known criminals from the 18th and 19th centuries and named after Newgate Prison in London, the Newgate Calendar became one of the most popular books of its day, said to be as much a part of the British household as the Bible."
So you know, popular exercises to avoid at all costs- unless you do them right.
Rest in peace William Zinsser.
Long read of the day, how a police department tried to save a failing Rust Belt town by luring all the local drug dealers to one party. The Wedding Sting.
"I will embrace the absence I used to know. I will go without internet for one week. Starting tomorrow." Seven Days Offline Makes One Weak. by Daniel Benneworth-Gray.
So you know, How Spaceships Die.
Great, insightful piece by Jason Kottke asking, Who's the Customer?
"Although their broadcast signals were often small and local, college radio offered a crucial assist to bands as diverse as R.E.M., Husker Du, Sonic Youth, the Replacements, Minor Threat, the Dream Syndicate, Bad Brains, Bad Religion, Los Lobos, and the Violent Femmes."
"I was one of the thousands who heard this program and did not jump out of the window, did not attempt suicide, did not break my arm while beating a hasty retreat from my apartment, did not anticipate a horrible death, did not hear the Martians 'rapping on my chamber door,' did not see the monsters landing in war-like regalia in the park across the street, but sat serenely entertained no end by the fine portrayal of a fine play."
Bringing Tom Home.
"And so for now, into it we mash our noses." Upon This Wrist, by Craig Mod. Fantastic.
Clifford creator Norman Bridwell passed away in February, last night I realized he also wrote and illustrated one of my childhood favorites, How to Care For Your Monster, which is still popular with my kids.
Support the next wave of projects from a cherished independent publisher. Keep McSweeney's going!
Happy birthday Finnegans Wake, you impenetrable bastard.
"For a book that seems spontaneous on its surface, The Naked and the Dead was written mechanically. I studied engineering at Harvard, and I suppose it was the book of a young engineer. The structure is sturdy, but there's no fine filigree to the joints. Just spot-welding and riveting." Related to the last, Steven Marcus interviewed Mailer for the Paris Review in 1963.
"Incredibly foul and beastly." On today's date in 1948, Norman Mailer's first novel, The Naked and the Dead was published.
"If you remember a time when playgrounds were practically designed to break bones and picking gravel out of your knees was a weekly occurrence, these stories will surely stir up some fond memories."
So you know, how to act in public spaces in a digital age.
"My God, what have we done." Copy of the Enola Gay pilot's log sells for $50,000.00 at auction.
"The applicant pool this year was particularly strong, and by that I mean the Admissions Committee once again sent candidates like you multiple enticing pamphlets encouraging you to apply, knowing full well we had no intention of accepting you." An Honest College Rejection Letter, by Mimi Evans.
"But nobody's doing a public radio show where the host sits in chain restaurants in the middle of America, listening to Hall and Oates, Kansas, and Blue Oyster Cult, wondering what went wrong. Yet."
"We're important scientists from Earth. Traveled a long goddamned way to strut around your world holding these clipboards. Even brought a pack of interns just to look busy measuring stuff in the background. Cost $30 billion to transport them across the galaxy. Another $10 million for the interstellar measuring tape."
In honor of the Bard's birthday today, Macbeth.
Glamorous Crossing: How Pan Am Airways Dominated International Travel in the 1930s.
Rosecrans Baldwin interviews Rick Beyer and Elizabeth Sayles, authors of The Ghost Army that tells the story of a top-secret unit of artists that waged war with fakery.
So you know, sexual euphemisms that won't catch on.
The typical American consumes more than 100,000 words a day, and remembers none of them. Binge Reading Disorder, by Nikkitha Bakshani.
"JUST ONCE, I want to hear that two like-minded folks spent their entire first date bitching about their lazy, selfish siblings. I want to meet the couple that knew it was love when they both punted phone calls from their long-winded stepdads straight to voice mail." Wedded Blitz! The Rites of Spring. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Katie Baker is the bomb.
"Long form doesn't even begin to cover it—a Siracusa review could stretch to a CMS-breaking 30,000 words and beyond..." John Siracusa has written his last Apple OS X review. Shucks.
Penguin Little Black Classics.
Related to below, It Began With a Lie.
"Due to much of the humour deriving from Mr. Pooter's comical tendency toward self-importance, the book has spawned the word 'Pooterish' to describe the taking of oneself excessively seriously."
NYT Günter Grass obituary, by Stephen Kinzer.
"I shall begin far away from me; for no one ought to tell the story of his life who hasn't the patience to say a word or two about at least half of his grandparents before plunging into his own existence." Take a few minutes today, for this excerpt from The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass.
Related to the last, notes on The Tin Drum (pdf) from Volker Schlöndorff and from the book's author, Günter Grass, plus excerpts from the filmmaker's shooting diary. "...we must compose the images that the reader sees. A memorized Danzig, evoked by signs."
RIP Günter Grass.
Susannah Breslin asks Would You Pay $100,000 for a Short Story?
"After using one for a week, I finally understand the hobbyist hype. Mechanical keyboards are loud, expensive, clunky, and cool as hell.
Adult films Jeffrey Blum could star in.
From artist Alejandro Giraldo, illustrations of the Characters of Wes Anderson.
A day in the life: an Apple Watch Review.
"I'll become famous after I'm dead about ten years." On this date in 1977 hard-boiled writer Jim Thompson died.
"You'll notice that several of the designers have stacks and stacks of design books and publications on their desks, their Paul Rands, their Vignellis, and so on. This is great to capture. It makes the designers feel good because it allows them to think that one day they'll also design an airline logo or redesign a subway wayfinding system or create timeless animated movie credits when in fact we all know that they'll mostly be creating sh*tty animations in Keynote that only sales managers in the Midwest will see, and more importantly, not even give half a f*ck about."
Opening day classic, James Earl Jones reads Casey at the Bat.
Michael Bierut on TGD.
"Jesus says that the snacks and refreshments are actually his body and blood. Judas asks how that is possible. Discussion follows." Official Meeting Minutes From the Last Supper, by Chas Gillespie.
"But it was't until 1970 that the exclamation point had its own key on the keyboard. Before that, you had to type a period, and then use the backspace to go back and stick an apostrophe above it." So you know, the history of the exclamation point.
"I have an archive of my own email going back 18 years, containing 450,000 messages. One day I decided to make it searchable. Not half-searchable but fully, dynamically, programmably searchable." —Paul Ford.
This is it. The Final Match of the 2015 Morning News Tournament of Books. By just about any measure, this year's edition had been fantastic. We're happy to have had a hand in presenting the ToB, with Field Notes once again acting as the tournament sponsor. Congrats to the winner and all the participants.
A great judgment from Nicole Cliffe moves one book, Station Eleven, to the final in the 2015 Morning News Tournament of Books.
Do you type two spaces after a period? You're doing it wrong.
"You really can find deep-fried anything these days: pickles, oreos, and even celery, which I unfortunately know from experience. And now, large spiders..
"They made music together, took drugs together, formed bands together, slept together. But none of the legends of the Laurel Canyon scene that flowered in L.A. in the late 60s and early 70s--Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Linda Ronstadt, and others-- remember it quite the same way."
"ASTERISK: What about a documentary? Helvetica had one. AGENT: Helvetica is one well-connected font."
"Like it? Well, I don't see why I oughtn't to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?" Tom Sawyer Invents the Hustle, from Lapham's new Quarterly, Swindle & Fraud.
Weekend Edition Sunday interviews three players from my beloved Kansas Jayhawks 1988 National Championship winning team about how sweet the win is for an underdog.
Utterly devastating. Act Three of this week's This American Life tells the tale of No Man Left Behind. The last few minutes are very hard to hear.
So you know, a brief history of restaurant matches. My folks had a drawer full of these.
"You wanna know how we did it? How we got away? Basically, we headed down south. That's about it. Remember, this is 1976. No GPS, no FastPass, no Patriot Act. The FBI wasn't even involved. Just this one dude Billy Mack trailing us around Texas in a Pontiac Firebird. Once we crossed the border, Private B.M. just farted back home to his wife or his mom or whatever, ate some soup, and snuggled up in his cotton-poly blend sheets from Sears."
A recent annual tradition on today's date, James Joyce Orders a Shamrock Shake.
"...the artful dodge in its all-but-infinite variety —the sales pitch, the resume, the cost overrun, the subprime loan, the building of the transcontinental railroad, the credit default swap, the derivative, the balloon mortgage, the missile gap, the housing bubble, the annual report, the Laffer curve, the Facebook page, the campaign promise, the 2003 invasion of Iraq— is firmly rooted in the country's founding." The new issue of Lapham's Quarterly is Swindle & Fraud.
"I didn't wash my jeans for 7 months- and it's the Internet's fault."
Waterboarding With Mother, Daisy Drops A Tab, and other note-worthy Ladybird books.
"Two hundred years ago, two young German librarians by the names of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published a collection of tales that would become one of the most influential works of folklore in Germany, Europe, and eventually the world."
Steven Heller on The Debate. "A 1972 argument between two Dutch designers, translated into English for the first time, taps into an age-old friction between art and commerce."
How to Turn a Malignant Tumor into a Digital Self-Publishing Project, by Susannah Breslin.
So far, this is the best The Morning News Tournament of Books yet, and we're only halfway through round one. The judgements, comments and commentary are all fantastic. Get on board.
"This little squiggle has a history rich in controversy." The Comma Queen, a film from The New Yorker.
When his wife Nora "discovered that he was 'on another book again,' just a year after the misery of Ulysses, she asked her husband if, instead of 'that chop suey you're writing,' he might not try 'sensible books that people can understand.'" On this day in 1923, James Joyce began the book which would become Finnegans Wake.
This year's Tournament of Books is off to quite a start, day two.
As the Token Female Member of This Action-Adventure Team, My Job is to Kick, by Juliana Gray.
"You might giggle at the part about the lap, but the rest of it sounds sweet. Except that 'die' is actually an Elizabethan euphemism for orgasm. No, seriously. (You might want to reread Romeo and Juliet after finding this out.)" Reading Shakespeare Without the Sex Jokes is the Real Tragedy, by Dara Lind.
"If the news of me wanting to go to the Stadium at all was met with hesitancy by my parents, then the desire to be in the standing room was met with outright terror. If the Stadium was an outpost of insanity, then the standing room was its holding cell." A beautiful tribute by Sam Fels to his brother Adam and Blackhawks hockey. Effing perfect.
"We're using the subway cars to create an artificial reef for marine life. Thank you for your patience." Sorry I'm Late, But This Morning's Commute Was a Killer, by Andrew Cushing.
"When she pinned a xenomorph to a wall with her combat boot and blew its brains out, one exclaimed his delight with profanity, then apologized to me for it. Another boy said Vasquez reminded him of 'this lady who works at Costco.' He didn't say which Costco. There was a wave of applause for Lt. Gorman and Vasquez holding hands as they blew themselves up. ('She died like a boss,' one said.)"
"Warren, think it over and you'll agree with me because you're smart and I'm right."
Warren Buffett's annual letter to shareholders is always a great read, full of common sense. This year's edition, on his firms 50th anniversary is no exception. The good stuff starts on page 24.
"So this morning I went and took the adult ADD test online. The ADHD test was boring so I gave up after three questions. I decided to write this post instead."
Artificial Intelligence Goes to the Arcade, by Nicola Twilley.
"We would have died of hunger without Durand-Ruel, all we impressionists." said Monet. "We owe him everything. He persisted, stubborn, risking bankruptcy 20 times in order to back us." The Man Who Made Monet: How Impressionism Was Saved From Obscurity .
Fascinating long read of the day, All the Jittery Horses: Racing the Mongol Derby.
"A fictitious country needs all kinds of graphics: flags, banknotes, passports, street signs," she told Quartz. "It's impossible to imagine graphics like these. You have to do your research and you'll find treasures that you couldn't even have begun to sit down and draw until you saw them in front of your eyes."
Just Checking In. For no particular reason Virginia Heffernan and Paul Ford started sending emails to see who can make the other person experience the most profound sense of dread and panic.
"On a recent bleak, winter afternoon in the Flatiron District Paul Schweitzer was once again hard at work, trying to breathe life into a black, jazz-age Underwood typewriter. Behind his spectacles was a furrowed brow and behind that was a tangle of keys, steel, carrying cases and filing cabinets of rollers, spools, levers and keys, a morgue of mechanical guts." Via MeFi.
"His eyes were a little bloodshot and he giggled as he suggested terrible places for me to search. I could hear Kyle calling me stupid, and that I had 'one job.'" Confessions of an iPhone 6, fun piece by Jessie Char. Oh, and thanks for the FN shout-out in November!
Long read of the day, What ISIS Really Wants.
"Q. When and how often is it appropriate to use the slash character that delineates terms of similar meaning? A. Use it until just before it becomes annoying." Currently browsing the Q&A archives at The Chicago Manual of Style Online.
An Illustrated History of Sushi.
Reporter calls Comcast CEO Brian Robert's Mom to complain about poor service. Not an Onion story.
FastCo gives us their picks for the 50 Most Innovative Companies of 2015
"The team also found that, on a microscopic level, the subway is littered with leftovers-evidence of what New Yorkers like to eat. Cucumber particles were the most commonly found food item, along with traces of kimchi, sauerkraut, and chickpeas." Cucumbers, who would have thought?
One night each winter, Devils run through the streets of Barcelona.
"Okay, I think I better just let the Mockingbird thing rest. Been trying for decades and just getting nowhere.
I am pleased however to be writing again, this time under the pseudonym E.L. James, whose first book, Fifty Shades of Grey will be published tomorrow. Wish me luck!"
Amen Heather, especially that last graf.
On today's date in 1968 "Fastestmanalive" died.
A century ago, people worried that color would ruin motion pictures; instead, it changed visual narratives forever.
For DW, Chipotle: The Definitive Oral History.
So you know, a month-by-month guide to the best places to travel in 2015.
"And yet, to all of the women that I know, especially those in the tech scene, I kinda feel like I owe you an apology... because it wasn't until I took my seven year old daughter to a comic book store this weekend that the universe slapped me upside the head and brought a really serious issue into focus for me.... I never understood it before." Via MeFi.
English to English. The Guardian translates. It's quite good.
Thomas Beller remembers Robert Stone.
Zulkey's piece for Fast Company on "Apps for a More Organized Life -- And Why They Won't Work."
"It's a little strange when you think about it: Just about every American ninth-grader has never lived a moment without astronauts soaring overhead, living in space. But chances are, most ninth-graders don't know the name of a single active astronaut- many don't even know that Americans are up there. We've got a permanent space colony, inaugurated a year before the setting of the iconic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. It's a stunning achievement, and it's completely ignored."
One of the best The Moth stories I have heard, Who Can You Trust?.
52 Place to Go in 2015.
"There should have been photo shoots for hip websites where I'm ambivalently holding a sousaphone in front of a bunch of carpets. But alas, all I have to remember the place is the collection of male hair ties that were left there."
Fascinating, How LEGO Became the Apple of Toys.
Editor Laura Perciasepe on Videos of People Falling Down, a story by Thomas Pierce, "...a powerhouse of inventiveness and imagination... structured like a symphony that plays back on itself, building to a crescendo of emotion and experience." Amen to that. So great. Get a coffee, put up the Do Not Disturb sign.
"...the only place where reputations are thankfully disposable and honesty reigns brutally supreme." The Top Albums of 2014, by Andrew Womack. This is the best best-of list ever compiled anywhere at any time. It speaks to me, directly through my heart. I literally can not stop reading it. Genius. Poetry. Sublime.
What Alex Balk is looking forward to in 2015. Spoiler: "A giant piece of rock hurtling undetected toward Earth."
"When taking a road trip on your own, what is the first name of the celebrity who you pretend is in the passenger seat with you?" Security Questions for Single, Childless People, by Shannon Reed.
"The parents, in church suits with the mildly stoned look of the truly exhausted, leaned against each other. But their kid? Their kid was euphoric- rapturous, even- because she was riding a coin-operated pink dinosaur that slowly rocked back and forth while playing a chiptune version of Mary Had a Little Lamb."
How the Death of Mid-Budget Cinema Left a Generation of Iconic Filmmakers MIA.
Merry Christmas, 1914.
A holiday classic. In Which I Fix My Girlfriend's Grandparents' WiFi and Am Hailed as a Conquering Hero, by Mike Lacher.
Long read of the day, The Disappeared: The story of September 26, 2014, the day 43 Mexican students went missing - and how it might be a turning point for the country. Via TMN
"This post originally quoted photographer Tom Sanders as saying it takes him five years to get on the dance floor. It takes him five beers." The Year in Media Errors and Corrections. An annual fave.
"I have a rule. When you write six pages, you turn it over and don't read it until you've written the whole thing." FFC on screenwriting.
"More than 20 million stems are auctioned daily near Amsterdam at the world's largest flower market. But the Internet and globalization have decentralized the market, casting its future into doubt."
"You think this is easy? Waking up everyday, knowing the public will have your head on a fucking pike if their living room doesn't smell exactly like the morning dew after a Northern California thunderstorm?" Lance Kilmartin, the Yankee Candle Company's Lead Scent Architect, is Going Through a Rough Patch at Work. by M. Miller Davis.
So you know, the story behind AOL's iconic yellow running man.
"I also make my own ink, using the ink of squid I raise myself in a PETA-approved salt-water aquarium in my office. You can meet all my squid during our initial meeting and pick which one you want for the ink on your will or healthcare power of attorney."
"Of course I adore Cheever, because he's so focused on a certain area, on really rounding out one place, giving a full portrait of it." 10 Under 10: Writers to Watch from The American Reader.
The best book they read this year.
"It's this sort of multi-layered nerdery that's made Tolkien's books so popular over the decades." The Real, Fake Red Book of Westmarch, by Austin H. Gilkeson.
"So I gave my son a crash course in video game history, compressing 25 years of gaming history into about four years. At this point, you're probably either thinking I'm a monster or a pretty awesome dad. Maybe a little of both. That's okay with me. My son is amazing, he loves video games, and more than anything, he loves playing them with me. Ready, player two?"
"Gotta win that holiday cookie swap. I'll be damned if Muffy Carrington wins again with those f*cking pecan bars she makes every year. IT'S NOT EVEN A COOKIE. That b*tch is gonna burn, thanks to the $16 I spent on this gluten-free sugar cookie mix."
"That one will be an elevated sandbox, basically, and the twins will use it to build sand castles and dig holes, and some mornings I'll get up extra early and bury myself in the sand, and when Susan comes in to make breakfast for the twins I'll leap up and scream at the top of my lungs and she'll be so surprised she'll spill coffee everywhere! Maybe that will make her love me again."
One and sadly done: 12 excellent features from directors who never made another feature.
"Send help. They've locked me up again. I've swallowed the key." Susannah Breslin is "writing 30 flash fictions in 30 days. One a day. 100 words or less. Time limit: 15 minutes." Terrific.
"Somewhere in the night a stray rocket went off." Ben Okri has won the 22nd annual Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award, for The Age of Magic (Head of Zeus).
"Oh, you got homework to do too? Hey, at the risk of sounding irresponsible, just forget it. Daylight is burning, you can do your homework later." Go Outside, Get Some Fresh Air, and Play With the Monolith, by David Guzman.
This time of year brings lots of year-end lists but this one is particularly useful, the NYT 100 Notable Books of 2014.
"How the Internet (and Volkswagen) Made a Dead Folksinger into a Star."
How the Strand Keeps Going in the Age of Amazon.
"We are the mom and pop corner store version of 'the dream.' If Lady Gaga is McDonald's, we're Betty's Diner. And we're open 24/7." Pomplamoose's Jack Conte breaks down the costs for their 2014 Tour.
How to Make Your Last Name Plural for the Holidays.
"On the last two nights of my final flight, I slept on the flight deck, my sleeping bag strapped beneath the overhead windows. The position of the shuttle put Earth in those windows, so when I woke up the whole world was out there in front of me--in that moment, just for me alone."
The Gigantic, Secretive Market Where France's Top Chefs Buy Their Food.
The Secret Life of Passwords, by Ian Urbina. Great, thoughtful piece.
Better wed over the mixen than over the moor.
"Internet bullies are eager to belittle me for both the message of the shirt and the misspelling of 'you're.' Hopefully you now see that by knowingly wearing the shirt, typo and all, I was displaying a carefree attitude and trying to better myself, each of which are admirable qualities." Please Stop Spreading Around That Meme of Me Choking On a Grilled Cheese Sandwich, by Chelsea Clarke.
Was Vincent Van Gogh Murdered?
So you know. "For the seventh straight year, I am aggregating every online 'best of 2014' book list I find in this post." —David Gutowski.
"Four years later it would be established in court that during the seven and a half months preceding Elvis's death, from January 1, 1977, to August 16, 1977, Dr. Nichopoulos had written prescriptions for him for at least 8,805 pills, tablets, vials, and injectables. Going back to January 1975, the count was 19,012." .
"Jack and Coke number four. F*cking steakhouse is still closed. The band is now playing 'I Melt With You,' and I wanted some steakhouse with melted butter on something. Crap." Epic review of a new casino, A Horseshoe Up My Ass: 24 Hours at Baltimore's New Casino. Via MeFi.
"And, you know, I like pot, I think it's a fun topic. Somebody has to cover it. So why can't I be that guy?"
"Within months, he was the personal pilot for the Stones, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Grateful Dead and John Denver. He financed the purchase of a Falcon jet by forging signatures on a 300-page loan agreement after a bank turned him down. The planes were a key to the lifestyle he was chasing: More planes meant more money, and more groupies and as much fun as he could handle — as long as he was home for Sunday dinner with his family, like any good Italian-American husband." The Man Who Got America High, by Jeff Maysh. Via TMN.
"Hour after hour, this terrible fever. What the hell am I doing? I kept asking myself. Why am I forcing a fine new machine to pretend it is a half-dozen old, useless machines?" The Sixth Stage of Grief is Retro-Computing, by Paul Ford. Only brilliant.
"In response to the e-mail we all received from Maddie's parents, in which they shared their decision to raise their daughter dogma-free, yes, there will be an altar, but please be assured that the Day of the Dead is a pagan celebration of life and has nothing to do with God. Keep those photos coming!" My daughters read this aloud last night (one had to take over because the first one couldn't stop laughing). A classic for Halloween, Dear Mountain Room Parents, by Maria Semple.
So you know, the History of the Chapter.
Relink from a few years ago because I love it and it's perfect for Halloween, author Neil Gaiman reads his Newberry medal-winning novel The Graveyard Book in its entirety. So great.
"And with only a handful of tools, you and your family can easily enjoy the thrill of pumpkin carving right at home. The following tutorial will provide you with step-by-step instructions down the leafy path toward a fun fall experience."
"It isn't every day that a street criminal- a high-school dropout with two felony convictions- is accused of stealing a centuries-old violin worth as much as $6 million. But nothing about the heist of the Lipinski Stradivarius, which galvanized the music world last winter, was normal, or even logical."
"I knew it was a ghost when I saw it."
Propublica and NPR investigated the Red Cross response to Hurricane Issac and SuperStorm Sandy, what they found is very disappointing. Long read of the day and well worth your time.
"It stands at my window, big as the sky. | It breathes from my sheets, the cold dead center" Sylvia Plath Reads "A Birthday Present" from October of 1962.
"For your jeans to fit correctly, pull the belt loops up a half a foot above your belly button while lost in a worry about the cable bill." N0RmC0r3 Brand Jeans Care and Fit Guide, by Noah Levenson.
Ben Bradlee, "speaking truth to spin doctors".
An Ode to the Original Six.
"He called me 'Legs' when I was hired as a fashion news aide in 1985, because I'm tall and because he didn't know my name. Eventually I had a byline, a better job and I became 'Sherrill.' In Bradlee's newsroom, you knew you'd made his team when your first name disappeared down the memory hole." Martha Sherrill on Ben Bradlee.
"Death is never kind to artists, but it has been particularly harsh on Algren. But now he is back with a roar as loud as the 'L,' which Algren once described as 'the city's rusty heart.'" Rick Kogan on two new Nelson Algren films.
"I refuse to give you a discount on principle because I know those shoes cost $200 and because anyone carrying a Vera Bradley handbag can afford to pay full price. I own a barn, lady- I wasn't born in one. Besides, you're wrong. I don't take this sh*t back to the farm; I take it to the food bank and sleep the sleep of the just."
"In the Potluck Dilemma, a per-agent algorithm of motivation ("M") and previous performance ("P2") predicts compliance. Mary, for example, brought a blueberry French toast casserole to the last potluck. It was straight baller. She will most likely phone it in next time and bring cheese or something." Game Theory: The Potluck Dilemma, by Jason Hayes.
Patricia Marx takes a fun look at emotional-support animal fraud: "How to Take Your Pet Everywhere."
"Nicole, can you take Matt's temp on the brodal shower idea? But first, find out if he has hot friends!!!! :) Also, Nicole you're not attracted to Matt right?? Don't want another offering to have sex with our friend's husband situation, right Jen? LOL. Awk-ward!" Hey Ladies: Autumnal Shower.
"Already most of the chairs were taken, girls in cargo pants and a few guys who looked like they were chewing on tin foil. Guys like me, I guess. Guys who'd said the wrong thing, looked the wrong way, picked the wrong bird to start plucking. 'Harassment,' they called it. Well, that was jake with me, as long as my suspended license got un-suspended."
Just a taste of the Studs Terkel Radio Archive. Great news.
The Telegraph gives us their picks for the 40 Best Space Movies.
Long read of the day, The Human Factor.
On this day in 1929, William Faulkner's "splendid failure" The Sound and the Fury was published.
King of the Click: the story of the greatest keyboard ever made.
"Nothing beats autumn in New England," said His Excellency, the Duke of Fall.
"Serial is a new podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial will follow one story - a true story - over the course of a whole season. We'll follow the plot and characters wherever they take us and we won't know what happens at the end of the story until we get there, not long before you get there with us."
"What is the age your mother cites when saying, 'I thought that by the time you turned ____ you'd be married.'?" Security Questions For Single, Childless People.
"For some months, Amtrak was my home. It began simply somewhat unintentionally...." Spencer McCormick's travels, "Aboard Amtrak"
"The cycle never breaks; our sordid tales end always with ellipses, not full stops. When yesternight our courtship freshly failed, you saw the cue to take it to the top.--- But now that we are once again apart, I swear you shan't again reclaim my heart."
For my Mom, who reads the ending of books first, In Defense of Spoilers.
The NY Times confirms what we have put into practice for years here at CP, Procrastination leads to creativity.
"There were 20 other people shot that night. But the dad waited, and so I did, too. A father saying good-bye to his dead son. It was a tiny little city tale, and I watched it f*cking happen."
"I miss the time when we were still defined by our music. When our music was still our music. I miss being younger, with a head full of subversive ideas; white cables snaking down my neck, stolen songs in my pocket. There will never be an app for that.
"...all he ever wanted to be was the shortstop for the New York Yankees." John Gruber on #2. Only perfect.
Sorry, Clay Risen Is Not Sorry.
Due to a rash of suicides in the 1930s, Budapest launched a campaign to be "The City of Smiles." A wonderful, bizarre hoax, but attributed to whom exactly is the big mystery.
Welcome to Colon, Magic Capital of the World. Delightful.
"A four-year design education in four inches worth of typesetting." Bierut on Rand.
A McSweeney's tradition, It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherf*ckers.
"My point is that it's counterproductive, counter creative, to morally charge the art of working with type. We wouldn't moralize cadmium red or C sharp major when teaching brush technique or the scales. To do so in typography stunts the full breadth of expression that designers need to draw upon."
The little-known story of how The Shawshank Redemption became one of the most beloved films of all time.
"...a perpetual state of almost right." Jason Fried has faith in eventually. Amen.
Related to the last, I, Pencil, by Leonard E. Read.
"That Stranger Who Showed Up In Town Sure Looks a Lot Like My Dead Father Who Was Murdered Years Ago When I Was Just a Kid But It Couldn't Be Because I Saw Pa Killed With My Own Eyes Though Looks Can Be Deceiving, Especially Since I Lost My Eyesight In That Horrible Fire Last June.
"A schoolboy pops into the library to find a book on taxation in the Ottoman empire - this is his first mistake."A sneak peek at Haruki Murakami's illustrated The Strange Library.
Everyone bookmark this Enigma Machine Simulator. From now on we'll post Fresh Signals in code.
"No future generation will know the joy of biking through the blistering Central Texas heat and slipping into the cool embrace of Hastings while the Knack or Blue Oyster Cult chases away the summer doldrums."
Today's Office Digital Edition, by Jan Chipchase.
"Of course, we continue to innovate on the product side--we recently incorporated raisins into our oatmeal cookies and just released our latest version of confectionaries, Petits 4.0."
Bet you didn't know that on this day in 1607 Hamlet was performed on board the merchant ship "Red Dragon," anchored off the coast of Sierra Leone.
Along one of the world's busiest and most treacherous shipping lanes, fifteen men risk life and limb on a daily basis to guide colossal cargo ships to safety
Stories from The Onion as interpreted by Facebook, Literally Unbelievable
2014: A Facebook Odyssey.
Infinite Jest in LEGO.
The Star Wars George Lucas doesn't want you to see.
"Ms. Lyons, Hi, if you are reading this then they killed me. I wanted to tell you that I enjoyed talking to you, you seem like a really great lady. I'm sorry we didn't meet under different circumstances. . . . . Thank you for your kindness. Have a wonderful day." The Witness. Via MeFi.
"This book is the property of the people of Detroit, and must be taken special care of, and not allowed to lie around where injury may happen to it. For damages done to the books of the Library the following fines will be imposed..."
"For nearly thirty years, a phantom haunted the woods of Central Maine. Unseen and unknown, he lived in secret, creeping into homes in the dead of night and surviving on what he could steal. To the spooked locals, he became a legend--or maybe a myth. They wondered how he could possibly be real. Until one day last year, the hermit came out of the forest.
"In a dust,, seemingly empty field 60 miles east of L.A., Dr. Alexis Gray, a forensic anthropologist from the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department, points to a chain-link fence far in the distance, the mountains rising beyond in the hazy heat. 'There are 7,000 people between us and that next fence there,' she says. For almost a decade, her job has been to confirm the identification of every single one of them."
"The engine runs on a mixture of gasoline and holy water. The stereo is configured to only play hymns. Hell, the cup holder only fits grails! Oh, I shouldn't say 'hell' near this thing, it may have some anti-Satan security device. Or maybe they just banked on God keeping it safe.
Uh, thanks Marshall.
"That means a child attending her first day of school the day you found out would be old enough to die driving one of your cars the day you f*cking did something about it." How John Oliver Beats Apathy.
The Hanx Writer iPhone app by Tom Hanks.
An excerpt from the new graphic novel by Jules Feiffer, Kill My Mother.
"Pajama Bottoms: Will be flying either to or from a city with a Senor Frog's." Airplane Passengers as Explained By Their Pants, by Wendi Aarons.
"Try discussing a brand new language via Skype with two hearing linguists, plus another via text, who happens to be deaf, and see what you learn." The Medium, by Michael Erard. Fascinating.
"That fall, eight empty semitrailers, each 53 feet long, arrived outside Mawhinney's warehouse in Pittsburgh. The convoy left, heavy with vinyl. Mawhinney never met the buyer."
"...it looks like there's a decent chance we could be in for record high temperatures today. The current mark is a toasty 98 degrees, set on this date back in 2005, which also happens to be the last time Karen said that she loved me." A Meterologist Works Out Some Personal Issues During His Forecast, by Pete Reynolds.
"Buildings are all very well, but it seems you haven't truly made it as an architect until you've given us something to sit on."
So you know, what happens when you enter the Witness Protection Program. Via TMN.
Driving back into the city from the burbs last night, heard a really great episode of Snap Judgement; The Grand Illusion. Elmyr's story is fascinating and Queen of the Night had me laughing out loud.
The path followed to the publication of Robert Frost's "Road Not Taken", on today's date in 1915.
For SD, The drone you should buy right now.
"Dating theory and Mom suggest that I will meet many other awesome women as I grow older and that I should therefore not stress this Samantha thing too hard, since there are likely 'other Samanthas' out there for me. But is the conclusion of this theoretical framework really just a total lie meant to dupe me into a lonely death?"
Print Isn't Dead, a showcase of outstanding illustration and design work demonstrating and pushing the boundaries of print in all forms.
Lost Scenes from Generic Hipster Indie Romance Films Found in 2076 During a Museum Restoration of an Old Macbook Air and Subsequently Adapted for the Stage During Heritage Week at a Camp for 7th and 8th Graders Later That Summer.
How the recent DashCon 2014 conference quickly went to hell in a handbasket.
"If you want a good early morning airport customer, respond to Angela G. Light luggage, no talking, phone on silent. I knocked off one star because she said NW corner and she was actually on the NE."
Local note, get out there tomorrow and support Chicago's first Independent Bookstore Day!
The man who makes me swoon talks about the Foodie Revolution.
Our pal and super-hero Liz Danzico is on The Great Discontent today.
"Inevitable ruin haunts Orwell's book because it's what lurked around his writing desk at the edge of this island." Chasing Orwell's Ghost.
"Fretful, melancholy, untalkative, dissatisfied and sickly," On this day in 1883 Franz Kafka was born in Prague.
"As you enter the main area, you will see an EKHARD oiled solid-oak dining sideboard. Quickly kick it apart to acquire the TABLE LEG WITH NAIL." IKEA Walkthrough v2.3.1, a classic from Matthew Baldwin.
The great Ben Kay writing about Always' "Like a Girl" campaign and the continued Dove-ifyed faux altruism.
The NY Times comes to the rescue and validates an argument I've been having for years, that Walgreens is missing an apostrophe. In this story, they call the company simply "Walgreen," which is correct. Bless you, Grey Lady.
"My first memory is of my father carrying a hammer into our bedrooms and smashing open our piggy banks on the night Roberto died." A Drive into the Gap by Kevin Guilfoile.
Our band only sold one copy of our album and we'd like it back, by Jake Tuck.
"His paintings of apples confused critics and art enthusiasts alike. People were astonished that apples could look so ugly, and be so poorly painted. Some thought Cezanne's still lifes were actually a joke, or an insult."
"...usage guide authors find themselves in the role of pornographers serving a community of masochistic perverts."
I expect Mr Pullam's talk at the Cambridge Symposium on Usage Guides and Usage Problems is going to get some attention.
"Gazing down at the motionless escalators, dead plants and empty benches below, he adds: 'It's still beautiful, though. It's almost like ancient ruins." The Death of the American Mall.
"Renk has watched his fights captivate fans, even though many don't follow the sport. 'The Spaniards--all Latin people--refer to the passion for bullfighting as el gusano the worm, and it eats at you the rest of your life. El gusano never leaves you." Gorgeous photos.
"The hopefuls are toting their most prized possessions- a vase lovingly wrapped in a towel and riding in a laundry basket on a wagon; a carousel deer with real antlers and a chunk missing from its head; a 4-foot-tall painting of a nude woman; a Winchester rifle; a cart filled with antique dolls. At one point, the sound of shattering china echoes through the set; you can hear people gasp, as everyone looks around nervously, clutching their heirlooms a little more tightly."
"Throughout this article we've made imprecise statements and statements that ought to have had all sorts of qualifications and reservations attached to them; and some of our statements may be flatly false." Alternative Histories, by Miles Klee for Lapham's Quarterly.
"In early May, a product evangelist and tech blogger from San Francisco, Robert Scoble, visited Hogeg. Hogeg showed him Yo and asked for his feedback. 'This is the stupidest, most addictive app I've ever seen in my life,' Scoble told him. Hogeg agreed."
On this day in 1961, John Steinbeck's The Winter of our Discontent was published despite the "pale and emasculated critical priesthood singing their litanies in empty churches."
"Well, I don't care if your friend Brad doesn't have to learn the piano. He isn't actually your friend at all. He's a person you think you should like because he's part of the popular crowd, but if you try to glom on to that group, the end result will be tears and humiliation, and you'll question your self-worth while lying in bed at night, creating imaginary torture devices you'd like to use on him."
"Mr Holmes as a character, plus the majority of his characteristics and those of his chums, are decidedly in the public domain." Elementary.
Great long read, Baptism By Fire: A New York Firefighter Confronts his First Test.
"There's no doubt about it. We picked up several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."
"Exposing the truth of human-alien interaction and interplanetary travel, Len Kasten reveals not only that the Ebens have returned to Earth eight times but also that our government continues to have an ongoing relationship with them." Secret Journey to Planet Serpo: A True Story of Interplanetary Travel. Huh.
"I was part of their 'Great Minds' tour where you can talk to some of history's geniuses. The nicest one was Ben Franklin, but he had intestinal parasites and spent most of the time on the toilet. Edison didn't want to talk to any of us, although his lab was interesting (no A/C, fyi)."
Open Culture on everything you need to enjoy reading James Joyce's Ulysses, including what Stephen Fry has to say about it.
James Joyce reading "Anna Livia Plurabelle" from Finnegans Wake in 1929. Plus, Sylvia Beach tells the story of how the the recording was made.
"Mr. Joyce manages to give the effect of unedited human minds, drifting aimlessly along from one triviality to another, confused and diverted by memory, by sensation and by inhibition, is, in short, perhaps the most faithful X-ray ever taken of the ordinary human consciousness." Edmund Wilson's July 5, 1922 review of Ulysses for TNR. "Mr. Joyce has told the whole truth."
"Silence, exile and cunning." Djuna Barne's interview with Joyce, Vanity Fair, March 1922. (pdf)
Happy Bloomsday, here's WB Yeats' receipt for his copy of Ulysses.
Meet the man who made the World Cup trophy.
Ben Rosen explains Dad's jokes.
PaperLater is a new service to help take stuff you don't want to read on screen and print it as a newspaper.
"I approached two scouts with a red wool blanket and explained that I was an Eagle Scout, I'd never traded before, but I did happen to have in my possession something uncommon and perhaps extraordinary: the lamest patch in creation. Eyes went wide. Hand unfurled. 'That,' the first one said, 'is pretty bad.' 'Yeah, I've never seen it before,' the second said. 'Okay, I'll trade you.' What do you want for it?"
"Man, do not fuck with the white robots. Are they robots? There's a black one! With asthma. Okay, that's a guy in a suit then. Nobody else is breathing like that though..." Star Wars, First Impressions.
"Throughout your life, there are signals telling you you are a writer. Unless you are not a writer. In which case, there are no signals whatever. At least not signals telling you you are a writer." —Earl Pomerantz.
The Telegraph has a rolling timeline of the D-Day Landings of June 6th, 1944 hour by hour, as events unfolded on the day.
So you know, Tim is is killing it at kottke.org today.
Nate & Co. go in search of America's Best Burrito. Volunteer taste-tester here.
John Cheever Reads "The Swimmer." December 19, 1977.
"The day after Christmas, in 2012, I packed my rented Chevrolet Impala in New Orleans and drove five hours northwest to Shreveport. My plan was to spend a couple of days with Dr. Cuthbert Simpkins, Coltrane biographer and trauma surgeon." An Absolute Truth: On Writing a Life of Coltrane, by Sam Stephenson. Splendid.
"That's how the heart works—it doesn't give a shit about what it's supposed to feel, it just feels. Inconvenient? Inappropriate? Embarrassing? Too bad. Deal." One Giant Cliché, by Steve Edwards for The Rumpus. A lovely and brave essay.
"5- Right now we're only seeing two great lights in the sky...a greater one for day and a lesser one for night? Thinking that maybe we weren't clear in the original briefing. Definitely need more than just two great lights. Need to make this a memorable, high-value experience for our users. Please revisit slides thirteen and fourteen in the deck. Shout with questions."
"You may be the only person who will ever read their sonnets, or their prose poems, or their dystopian novellas. Don't take that privilege lightly." 55 Thoughts for English Teachers, written by one, Nick Ripatrazone.
Alternative Ideas from an Intraoffice Memo at the Museum of Sex After Discovering That the Planned Location for a Los Angeles Branch, 69 Swallow Drive, is not Actually for Sale, and the Closest Property Available is 67 Swallow Drive, by Jordy Greenblatt.
LeVar Burton has launched a Kickstarter to bring back Reading Rainbow. There are even a few Star Trek reward levels.
Nice, our favorite "smutty-metaphor Queen of Lawrence, Kansas," Patricia Lockwood is profiled in this weeks NYT Magazine. "Lockwood finds herself on the verge of literary fame, a product of ill fortune followed by good fortune and the perhaps naive expectations of success that only an outsider can maintain." Follow her here.
The headline says it all.
In 1966, author John Steinbeck wrote a letter making the case for Deep Sea exploration.
"But whereas Cheever, Chekhov, Roth, John Updike, and other literary artists used their keen perceptive abilities in the pursuit of sober realism, Gauguin put his artistry to the purpose of imaginative proto-surrealism."
"From under a tent just left of the small stage, a panel of judges doled out their points, but the real power lay with the moderators onstage, whose task it was to confirm that each new volley was indeed a pun, and not a mere cliche or, worse still, the kind of double entendre whose second meaning is derived from suggestive inflection rather than a legitimate play on words."
"Determined to quit his tired government job, one D.C. office drone saves $25,000 by renting his apartment nightly and secretly sleeping on the office floor." The Secret Life of an Obsessive Airbnb Host.
"This is a story about me and a video game. Although I have always been and expect I always will be a nerd, the events of this story take place when I was approximately 8-10 years old, meaning I had not yet worn away the extra layer of turbo-nerd that little boys of that inclination tend to have at that age." Arcade Story by Steven Frank. Terrific. Via John Gruber.
"I look freaking intense; make it seem like there are flames in my retinas and lasers are shooting out of my pupils. Zoom out. The tree I've been punching falls down and a family of squirrels runs out of it, shrieking and horrified." Notes for the Director of My Kickass Workout Video, by Chas Gillespie.
Frank Delaney on seeing, rather than reading Joyce. Delaney is on episode #204 of his podcast re:Joyce. But a warning, if you're a Joyce fan and you listen to one, you might just be scurrying back to the beginning to start from there.
"The objectification of women has got to stop. I can't even go for a jog without guys commenting on my ass." Feminist Humblebrags.
Thug: A Life of Caravaggio in Sixty-Nine Paragraphs, by Stephen Akey.
A quick chat with Steven Heller about the publication of his new book 100 Classic Graphic Design Journals.
It's So Hard to Say Good-Bye. A new Bake Shop is up at Grantland, best sports mailbag by a long-shot, from Katie Baker.
"Amid the bloodiest throes of the Civil War, a beautiful actress in search of adventure donned disguises, dodged death, and slipped secretly behind Confederate lines."
"Our agency is getting big. That's something to be happy about. But it's something to worry about, too, and I don't mind telling you I'm damned worried." Bill Bernbach wrote to his bosses in 1947.
"If I wanted a capital, I would have typed a capital. I know how to work the shift key." George R.R. Martin explains why he writes on a DOS machine.
"In the 1850s, Leonardo da Vinci was considered no match for giants of Renaissance art like Titian and Raphael, whose works were worth almost ten times as much as the 'Mona Lisa'. It was only in the 20th century that Leonardo's portrait of his patron's wife rocketed to the number-one spot. What propelled it there wasn't a scholarly re-evaluation, but a burglary."
"Alone at night, Charlie reflected on the events of the day- Lucy's fun-spirited request for a rematch, his hopeful trot to the park, the sun glancing down on them like a terrific, smiling lemon drop. Lucy's face seemed to shine at him as she held the ball, seemed to say to him, 'I want to make things right this time'."
"He found me on Craigslist. I found him on America's Most Wanted." My Roommate, The Diamond Thief.
F*ck Yeah, Thoreau. Nice background.
"We made small talk in the checkout line at Trader Joe's. You said that you literally could not live without the salsa you were buying. I wish we could talk again. You used 'literally' incorrectly. It really pissed me off. I wish you could literally not live without that salsa, because then I'd take it from you." Missed Connections for Assholes, by Ethan Kuperberg.
"Each month, we will publish a story about a privately held company that has been operating for at least 25 years." The inaugural issue of The Distance, created by our pals at Basecamp. Chicago's Last Tannery, The Horween Leather Company.
"Walter R. Walsh, a world-class marksman who shot clothespins off laundry lines as a boy and went on to become an F.B.I. legend in shootouts with gangsters in the 1930s, an Olympic competitor and a trainer of generations of Marine Corps sharpshooters, died on Tuesday at his home in Arlington, Va. He was 106. Amazing obit.
The 2014 Edgar Award winners have been announced.
A Single Guy's Date Story as Interpreted in the Mind of his Married Friend.
"In 2012, on my Facebook feed, I stumbled across a hilarious excerpt from a legal transcript. In a deposition in Ohio, a lawyer became embroiled in an absurd argument about the definition of a photocopier."
"On this episode, I finally got to see them. Better yet, to eat all of them, the Greatest Hits of the Glorious career of Paul Bocus--while he sat next to me. It was an amazing, unexpected, never-dreamed of, late in life windfall. Like a lifelong Yankee fan, somehow finding himself throwing the ball around the backyard with Joe DiMaggio." The Man Who Makes me Swoon talks about going to Lyon. I saw this episode and it was fantastic. *Le sigh*
So, When We Had Sex at the 'How to Host a Murder' Party, Were You In Character? By Tim Sniffen.
From the University of Chicago, "The donor of the Bibliotheca Homerica Langiana is offering a prize of $1,000 to the first person who identifies the script, provides evidence to support the conclusion, and executes a translation of selected portions of the mysterious marginalia."
The Hackers who Recovered NASA's Lost Lunar Photos.
A classic that needs to be revisited periodically. Paul Brians' Commonly Made Suggestions about commonly made errors, and more importantly, Non-Errors, "those usages people keep telling you are wrong but which are actually standard in English." Which is exactly the sort of attitude up with which I will not put.
"On this day in 1898 William S. Porter -- the drug store clerk, cowboy, fugitive, bank teller, cartoonist and future 'O. Henry' -- began a five-year prison sentence for embezzlement."
Hot Singles are In Your Area! By Jack Urwin.
Vladimir Nabokov had three birthdays, including today. Andrea Pitzer explains.
Excerpts of generally-misguided One-Star Book Reviews.
No jokes, no attitude, just tips on punctuation, clearly stated. By Janis Bell.
How Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are rushing to cash in on cannabis.
FotA and former Guest Editor, Mike Sacks, has just gotten a publication date for his follow up to And Here's the Kicker, his hit book about comedians and their writing process: Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today's Top Comedy Writers.
"But I was able to plot out the locations for every foundry that had been active in New York between 1828 (the earliest records I could find with addresses) to 1909 (see below). All of the buildings have been demolished, and in some cases the entire street has since been erased. But a startling picture still emerged: New York once had a neighborhood for typography."
Grantland celebrates the city of Detroit .
The First Emoticon May Have Appeared in 1648.
"For instance, how often do a deciduous tree and a coniferous tree appear in the same painting? We know that 57 percent of paintings contain a deciduous tree and 53 percent of paintings contain a coniferous tree. According to our data set, 20 percent of paintings contain at least one of each." A Statistical Analysis of the Work of the Bob Ross. Via Waxy.
Why it doesn't matter that you may never reach inbox zero.
Great lost manuscripts of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Re-link as the entire piece is now online, a fantastic long read, The Murders at the Lake.
"I learned to eat my vegetables on a Grateful Dead tour in the late 1980s, when I was a high school dropout with boundless enthusiasm for hallucinogens and hitchhiking." —Rosie Schaap.
The Atlantic has some tips on how to protect yourself from the Heartbleed Bug .
For BB and MJ, the invention of the Slurpee.
"In the devout Buddhist city of Chiang Mai, gambling, alcohol and greed are strictly frowned upon, and a booze-soaked racetrack is the most popular place in town"
"And I'm hunkered down in my bed with my husband, very pregnant, and we got a call from a dear friend of mine and producer named Jack Nitzsche. Jack Nitzsche called and said you know, Merry, are you busy? I said No, I'm in bed. he says, well, you know, There are some guys in town from England. And they need someone to come and sing a duet with them, but I can't get anybody to do it. Could you come?"
"In 1932, a rising writer from Mississippi found himself amid the bright lights and dry heat of Tinseltown, at the start of what would become a lengthy dalliance with the screenwriting biz. In the wilds of L.A., Faulkner met movie stars, found a bourbon haunt, chased true love, and tried to stay sane in a place that often seemed very far from home." Be sure to check the photos too.
"10. During the lengthy list of side effects, a man, a woman and a dog waking on the beach at sunset shall be shown. When especially lengthy legal copy is being read, have the man throw the dog a Frisbee, or the woman pick up a shell and show it to the man, or the dog barking and the man and the woman giddy with laughter because they love their silly dog and the wonderful new drug they are taking."
"People reacted in different ways, but many people felt like they always had to go through everything. Including me. To this day." Mark All as Read, by Brent Simmons at Inessential. A great piece from the newest member of The Deck, our advertising network serving web, design and creative professionals.
"My guess is if you took all the time that you've spent considering writing a book and translated that into actual writing time, you'd be a quarter of your way into writing that book you're not writing." Rands on How to Write a Book.
So you know, how to get published on McSweeney's Internet Tendency.
Why We Haven't Built a Better Black Box.
"The One Who Disappeared," by Charles Simic.
Confessions of a Non-Serial Killer.
"The resulting campaign was, in true Portland fashion, unconventional. Understanding that young locals prefer to discover things instead of being told what to buy, Helm suggested a subtle campaign focused on billboards. 'It had no call to action, no name of the team, no mention of the sport, no URL,' says Helm."
"The early bird gets the Pulitzer... sort of." Famous Writers' Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity, Visualized.
"A great poet, a famous novelist, a powerful intellect and a son of a bitch I hated." On this day in 1970, James Dickey's Deliverance was published.
"Whatever goes up, that's what we do.' Dustin Curtis on Facebook.
"Their plight eats at him but devours Zeller, who lies awake brooding about the country he fought for - and the one that sent him there to fight. 'In Afghanistan, we learned a phrase - nana watai - which means 'I seek asylum' in Pashto,' says Zeller. 'If you say that to an Afghan, he's duty-bound to protect you. You'd think we'd be big enough to return the favor." The Interpreters We Left Behind. Via MeFi.
"Which brings me, by an admittedly roundabout route, to my favourite political speech - one that embodies all of Sir Ernest Gowers's golden rules, as well as Churchill's. In 1966 a man called Dick Tuck stood as a Democrat in the California Senate elections. When the votes were counted and Tuck realised that he'd been soundly beaten, he conceded defeat with this all-too-human masterpiece of concision: "The people have spoken - the bastards."
"We high-school players were pool players, although we would have liked to be billiard players, if for no other reason than that each billiard player was so elite he had a woman besides a wife, but we could rarely finance our aspirations." Related to today's main feature, Norman Maclean on shooting pool with physicist Albert Michelson in 1975. Thanks Duke.
"Toddlers know your weaknesses and will exploit them. They are supervillains-- just give them a volcanic lair and a freaky cat to stroke. The trick is, of course, that toddlers are big-eyed little adorbs-machines. They radiate cuteness waves that wash over you, drawing all the sand on your beaches out to sea until every last defense is down." Via MeFi.
The folks over at Jalopnik helpfully break down the realities of Cosmopolitan's Guide to Having Sex in Cars.
Joseph Stromberg sold his undergraduate thesis to a content farm. Then things got weird.
"You know what?" said the Stork. "I don't need this. Things are crazy at work, and I don't have time to babysit you and your fragile psyche." The Fox left angrily, and the Stork immediately went to her computer and blocked him on Facebook." Aesop's Lesser Fables.
"In 1982, a brutal triple homicide shook the city of Waco and soon became one of the most confounding criminal cases in Texas history- one that still haunts the many people who have tried to solve it." The Murders at the Lake. Fascinating long read, a serial worth following.
"It was the greatest art theft in history: 650,000 works looted from Europe by the Nazis, many of which were never recovered. But last November the world learned that German authorities had found a trove of 1,280 paintings, drawings, and prints worth more than a billion dollars in the Munich apartment of a haunted white-haired recluse."
"Some of you may be asking yourselves, is it too soon? Should we give it more time before performing a theatrical reenactment of the events that occurred here?" The First Civil War Reenactment, by Colin Nissan.
A pilot weighs in with his theory on the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.
"Obligatory victuals, it seems, only to accompany the true object of my excursion-- to suckle the toothsome strawfuls of your wintry Celtic-themed libation as briskly as I can manage, a carnal act performed with full awareness that such pace shall certainly heighten my risk of developing an Arctic cranial ache of epic proportion. No matter, the suffrage will be brief and deserved and pale in compare to the forthcoming Grimaconian rapture."
Interesting read of the day, Inside Airbnb's Grand Hotel Plans.
"If you've force-fed him organic foods, paired meals with assorted wine flights, even gotten him to identify which wines play best off which dishes, make no mistake, I will rain terror down on you so hard!" Give Me Back My Husband! At Some Point! By David Henne.
Totally related to the last. The magnificent The Beast in the Jungle, by Henry James.
"I started catching myself trying to be less excited about things." The Art of Waiting, by Spencer Tweedy.
Thanks for this LifeHacker, I'm a Telemarketer. Here's How to Get Rid of me.
"Watching The Empire Strikes Back as a child does not prepare you for the first time you field-dress an animal in the snow." Rosecrans learns to Hunt Deer in 7 Days or Less for GQ.
"Clad in feathers and a supreme sense of pride, New Orleans women from thirteen to eighty provide a colorful and regal punch at the annual Mardi Gras parades."
Heartbreaking read on how dementia has taken away legendary college basketball coach Dean Smith's Precious Memories.
They sure picked a good week to back into print. Leah McGrath Goodman finds the man behind Bitcoin for Newsweek.
The Opening Round is up and surprising, in The Morning News Tournament of Books - Presented by Field Notes.
"I'm sure not even sure I'm eligible for civil liberties. The government's website, Constitution.gov, which is a partisan name, didn't help. It was really complicated, and took four seconds to load on my phone and didn't have single animated GIF."
All of the sudden, flush and hang style, and the difference between truth and Truth. Chicago Style Q&A.
The University of Chicago Library has made the Norman Maclean Papers 1880-1990 available for research. CP hero Maclean was the author of A River Runs Through It (a perfect book which was made into a seriously imperfect movie) and Young Men and Fire, an account of the 1949 Mann Gulch fire that claimed the lives of thirteen forest service smokejumpers.
"SOCRATES: Tell me, Marty, you produce, direct and write many of your films. In other words, you have firm control over all major aspects of your art. Yet you're creating product for Hollywood's large studios, which are, in turn, owned by even larger multinational conglomerates, making you a contributor to the profits and power of a soulless, dehumanizing, commercial force. Tell me, does this make you, ultimately, an artist, a slave or an oligarch?"
"Power, in business, comes from sharing money and valuing love." What Bill Drentell Knew, by Michael Bierut. Yes.
"Bringing extinct animals back to life is really happening-- and it's going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up being very, very bad." The Mammoth Cometh.
Far be it from me to point you somewhere that will completely suck the productivity out of your workday but, so you know, I haven't got anything worthwhile done since I started browsing the Interviews section of the Paris Review yesterday. Giroux, Cortazar, Dos Passos, Bellow from '66.
Oral History: Sex! Drugs! Apps! SXSW Interactive at 20.
"It's time to pay the piper. It just so happens this piper actually smokes a vintage pipe. But make no mistake, I'm going to hit you so hard, the probiotic microorganisms living in your lower colon are going to feel it. Now, take off those really awesome oversized glasses from Tortoise & Blonde so I can punch you, you back-stabbing son of a bitch."
John Berryman's "tiny little secret hope." An inspiring quote pulled by Buzz Andersen from the poet's 1970 interview with Peter A. Stitt for the Paris Review.
Mark Peters on how Sarah Silverman is a master of writing the clean joke in dirty joke's clothes.
"Well now, I don't know about the whole truth, but I swear to tell some of it." Earl Pomerantz's blog post, A Simple Issue Of Clarity is based on actual events.
"As Wikipedia has grown in size and complexity, so has the task of quality control; today that responsibility falls to a cadre of cleverly programmed robots and 'cyborgs'-- software-assisted volunteers who spend hours patrolling recent edits. Beneath its calm exterior, Wikipedia is a battlezone, and these are its front lines."
Newspaper publisher Dean Coombs puts out his paper the old-school way.
"When I think about the mall pet store where I was born, my tiny jet black eyes fill with tears. I will never forget the day my mother — who was also born in a mall pet store, as was her mother before her — looked at me and said, 'Cashew, I heard Netflix is going to start creating original, subscriber-only programming.' I said, 'Mother, what an incredibly complex idea to get across with high-pitched squeaks,' and she said, 'My beloved Cashew! All creatures intuitively understand the concept of high quality on-demand programming.' I promised one day I'd make her proud. Now that day has come." Cashew's Diary.
Katie Baker's review of the New York Times "Vows" section is always eagerly awaited, and this one is a double-month, YOLO Edition of Wedded Blitz!
"You should read the book that you see someone on the train reading and trying to hide that they're laughing. You should read the book that you see someone on the train reading and trying to hide that they're crying." Great advice from Janet Potter, 28 Books You Should Read If You Want To.
On this date in 1945, British and U.S. air forces began the 48-hour bombing of Dresden, Germany. Kurt Vonnegut was there when it happened.
"1 adverbs. Aim for 0 or fewer." Mark Liberman sets up the "Hemingway" App to analyze Hemingway's writing.
"Though was endorsed by Either for Introducing a Dependent Clause. If was endorsed by Then for Teamwork."
A 1967 Paris Review interview: Terry Southern on Screenwriting.
Penguin plots Pelican's return.
Relayed to the last. Another Day in Bricksburg, by Arlaina Tibensky. Brilliant.
"Does anybody know if the Bauhaus is still taking applications?"
Based On a Few Primitive Lego Assemblies I am Confident in Proclaiming That My Toddler Will Become America's Next Great Architect, by Coleman Larkin.
"But we also do business in the U.S.A. Or want you to think we do. Check out this wind energy thing in Indiana, and this blue collar guy with dirt on his face. Phew."
Long read of the day, Secrets From Belfast. How Boston College's oral history of the Troubles fell victim to an international murder investigation.
"ANNOUNCER #1: AND HE COULD GO ALL. THE. WAY. INTO. TARGET. AND. GET. HALF OFF. ON. FEATURED. ITEMS. THIS. COMING. WEEK!"
Shaun Usher's book project #2, Lists of Note, is currently funding via Unbound.
"When the history of the web is written, the final word will obviously belong to Reddit. What else will be left?" An oral history of Gawker, by Reddit.
"It would make more sense to do laundry after we have sex, except I prefer to lie down with him on sheets surrounded by the alpine-mountain scent of my fabric softener, which is great for children because it's hypoallergenic." I'm a Busy Mom in a TV Commercial for Household Products, by Teddy Wayne.
Taken by T-Rex (a book of dinosaur porn) vs. Dave Eggers's The Circle. Lois Beckett brilliantly compares and contrasts.
Bill Murray on Ask Me Anything.
Ha. "The Jabberwocky" as a Star Wars crawl.
"You dumb mug, get your mitts off the marbles before I stuff that mud-pipe down your mush --and tell your moll to hand over the mazuma."Twists, Slugs and Roscoes, a glossary of hardboiled slang.
The parentheses, the em-dash, the ellipses, the colon, and the period. Kathryn Schulz examines specific punctuation marks in the history of literature. Just great.
Kama Sutra for Couples Who Have Been Dating for Over Three Years, by Chelsea Davison.
"1PM-2PM: Driving down a windy road in a sport utility vehicle with bicycles strapped to the roof." From Claire's most fun day ever.
"I tried the hardest puzzle on the internet and failed spectacularly."
Why do you get drunk and sing? This guy.
"Almost every day I get asked, 'What's it like being a Senior Search Engine Marketing Specialist?' Everyone is dying to know, and let me tell you, it's everything I ever dreamed it would be." By Christopher Mah.
"One of the strange and slightly creepy pleasures that I get from using Twitter is observing, in real time, the disappearance of words from my stream as they are deleted by their regretful authors." Twitter Regret: First Thought, Worst Thought, by Mark O'Connell.
"Having written Ulysses about the day, I wanted to write this book about the night... Since 1922 my book has been a greater reality for me than reality." On this date in 1941 James Joyce died in Zurich.
Jon Evans on Standard Written English, as if there were such a thing.
Bruce McCulloch reminisces about his 'old' Calgary
Language nerd alert. "A sentence written in passive voice is the shifty desperado who tries to win the gun-fight by shooting the sheriff in the back, stealing his horse, and sneaking out of town." Fear and Loathing of the English Passive, by Geoffret K. Pullman. Hang with it until Section 3, that's where all the fun stuff happens.
A kindergarten fight for Napper of the Year.
Snowstorms, Then and Now.
"Conan Doyle's other alluring creation was London. Although the author lived only a few months in the capital before moving to the suburbs, he visited the city frequently throughout his life. Victorian London takes on almost the presence of a character in the novels and stories, as fully realize--in all its fogs, back alleys and shadowy quarter-- as Holmes himself."
"In the 1960s, no one wanted bluefin. In the United States, the fish sold for pennies per pound, and it was usually ground up for cat food. Japan fished for it, but few people there liked the bluefin's bloody, fatty meat." How Bluefin Tuna Went From Cat Food to Solid Gold.
"The Canadians finally stopped eating me" and other six-word science fiction stories.
"Why am I spending so much time consuming other people's moments?" The Builder's High, by Michael Lopp.
"Sosinski ran to the VHF radio, which was bolted to the ceiling in the small wheelhouse toward the front of the boat, and grabbed the microphone. He switched to channel 16, the distress channel, and at 6:22 a.m., he called for help, his voice shaking: 'Coast Guard, this is the Anna Mary. We've got a man overboard.'"
Since you are really not going to get anything done at work today, you may as well head over spend some time reading Longreads Top 10 Stories of 2013.
"Funny, I don't remember telling her my dream was to one day open a chapter of the Audubon Society. Jesus. You know what would have been nice? Some birdseed. I'm out of saltines and things are starting to get weird in here.
My Mentor, the Pornographer by Steven Heller. Who knew?
Charming John Freeman interview with John Updike animated!
"'We expected them to do the snowbird thing,' said Thorrold. Well, it's December and Mary Lee has, in fact, returned to Florida, but Lydia isn't following that script. Her most recent flurry of pings has come from just off of Newfoundland, 1,000 miles away, in water just a few degrees above freezing."
"You know what I'm really excited about? Pizza Hut now has a pizza with a hot dog in the crust."
"Happy New Year from the Hixon-Palmers! It's been a wild ride on the bleeding edge of social media here in the Hixon-Palmer household! We spent the better part of 2013 strengthening our footprint both online and in our local community, and our family has never been stronger for it. Let us show you how we share!"
The Long List for the tenth Tournament of Books has been announced. Oh boy.
"She keeps a knife or two hidden under her clothes because when it comes down to it, they called her Gentle, but sometimes loving means fighting for what you care for." Can we talk about Susan's fabulous adventures after Narnia?
"Collecting vintage Burgundies, Rudy Kurniawan drove the rare-wine market to new heights, then began selling his treasures. Or so it seemed." Long read of the day, A Vintage Crime.
So you know, how these 5 dirtbags radically advanced your digital rights.
"Enter. Love comma Steven. STEEFEN. With a pee aitch."
Dear Aunt Rose Comma Thank You for the Speech Recognition Software Exclamation Point, by Erick K. Auld.
"Packaged in a daily phone call. Lacks originality; rarely advances past remarks on job status and significant others. Consists of 'tisks' and interrogation, most of which can be diverted with white lies.
Pairs with: Career hurdles. Relationships, or lack thereof. Mostly everything."
So you know, how to make your own major publishing house.
The Guardian wants your vote for the Bad Sex Award in writing.
"Despite occasional speculation over the years that an optical device somehow enabled Vermeer to paint his pictures, the art-history establishment has remained adamant in its romantic conviction: maybe he was inspired somehow by lens-projected images, but his only exceptional tool for making art was his astounding eye, his otherworldly genius."
The Atlantic asks Are You Smart Enough to Be a Citizen?
Bookmarked this three months ago and finally just read it last night: Jon Krakauer's follow up to Into the Wild, answering the book's primary, unresolved question: "How Chris McCandless Died."
A Tale of Two Lolitas.
Waiters weigh in on how not to be a horrible restaurant customer.
"Because stamps have long been used as a historical record of American culture, the philatelist emphasizes his role as historian, partly because it legitimizes a pastime most people still view as the world's feeblest hobby." The Mail Room, by Sam Sweet for the Paris Review.
So you know, a textual analysis of Hunger Games, Twilight, and Harry Potter. SD, this is obvs is for you.
"Lithium: That big promotion you've been hoping for will go to the coworker you most despise! Congratulate her, knowing full well that your words won't make her happy. Or maybe they will. Either nobody is happy or everybody is happy but you. Your lucky number today is zero." Antidepressant Horoscopes, by Kristen Steenbeeke and Shawn Laramie.
I can't even.
Most of us ladies are looking for a guy who likes Girls Who Read. Some language NSFW.
So you know, how to get your book onto The New York Times Bestsellers List. Hint: $.
"You cannot anticipate it before you go there, as you cannot forget it once you have gone." C. S. Lewis reviewed The Hobbit for the Times Literary Supplement in October of 1937.
In honor of the 150th anniversary today, Johnny Cash reads The Gettysburg Address.
The Morning News Tournament of Books for 2014 will be tenth edition. Chime in about your favorite book from 2013 as the editors prepare the longlist.
The psycholinguistic properties of expletive infixation. Absofuckinglutely.
"One. Two. Three. Are you still there? Yeah, me, too. Okay, I'm really hanging up this time. One. Two. Three. Hello?" Alexander Graham Bell's First Five Phone Calls, by Jesse Eisenberg.
This is the dedication from my new book. Rob Delaney making all us other sons look bad.
"If you haven't woken up after a two-day Twitter-bender in an unfamiliar hotel room with bleeding thumbs and a shattered iPhone, this job might not be for you."
A box of otherworldly notes.
A fascinating and fun read about the Dr. Bronner soap company and its current CEO, David Bronner.
The folks at Warby Parker sit down for a chat with FoTA SwissMiss.
A big congrats to FotA Alissa Walker for her new post as Urbanism Editor at Gizmodo.
"The idea of a meal before an execution is compassionate or perverse, depending on your perspective, but it contains an inherently curious paradox: marking the end of a life with the stuff that sustains it seems at once laden with meaning and beside the point." Last Meals, by Brent Cunningham.
"We present here for the first time in digital form all the known manuscripts of Frankenstein, perhaps the most famous and widely reproduced work of British Romanticism." The Frankenstein Notebooks.
The folks over at TMN have some suggestions for scary movies you should watch. Yes, JC, your movie is on the list.
"Our hayride is a family-friendly excursion consisting of hot apple cider, group sing-a-longs, and some of the most beautiful autumn foliage upstate New York has to offer. It does not involve a swarm of deranged men flitting through the trees around us and shouting horrible threats while gleefully mutilating themselves with broken bottles."
"An apex predator doesn't wake up one day and decide it is done hunting."
Eugene Wei on Amazon and the "profitless business model" fallacy.
An awesome long piece by Robert Whitaker, Proto-Spam: Spanish Prisoners and Confidence Games. Via Mefi.
Dude abides, but it also evolves.
"It is essentially now." Keith Phipp's "Laser Age" series for The Dissolve continues with Chaos, oppression, and the grim worlds of A Clockwork Orange and THX-1138.
Long read of the day, Lost Soul.
Long read of the day, How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses.
"Science... f*ck yeah. The cool part about learning science on Facebook is that they use pictures and the words aren't very big and you get to browse Facebook the entire time. Plus, the swearing. You can't swear in school which is bullsh*t."
Places in the UK or High-Minded British Insults?
"There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time." Christine Rosen on The Myth of Multitasking. (pdf)
You Are Boring.
So you know, 10 words to cut from your writing.
Always a good day when you learn a new word. Chicago, prepare for Graupel.
"He attended the opening night of Manchester's Hacienda nightclub, which he said later became full of 'disfigured disco dancers and goblinesque pork-pie chubbos with carroty-red curls smelling of pickled pig who claimed the Hacienda as their own public toilet'." *Sigh* it could only be Moz.
Big Brother is alive, well, and apparently living in Chicago.
Breaking Bad self-help books by Eduardo Salles.
"This document does not advocate or condone the extinction or betrayal of ewoks, it merely reports upon a physical situation and the acts involved." Star Wars Technical Commentaries: Endor Holocaust. Via DRB.
"I could stop worrying. If fiction didn't have to make sense perhaps life didn't either. It was a revelation." Related to the last, Jonathan Grimwood on TM&M for The Independent's "Book of a Lifetime" series.
GUEST: I was pushing the button in the subway to ask directions, and the people who answered were very rude to me and unhelpful.
CONCIERGE: Sir, you were pushing the emergency intercom.
GUEST: Well I had to catch my flight!!!
How May We Hate You?
A "splendid failure." On this day in 1929, William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury was published.
And Then Steve Said, "Let There Be an iPhone." Interesting, long excerpt about the original iPhone launch, from Fred Vogelstein's new book, Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution,
"The music business doesn't give a sh*t about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think its what YOU wanted.. and when you end up in rehab as a result of being prostituted, 'they' will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body and you will find yourself very alone." Sinead Writes Miley a Letter.
"Since history is doomed to repeat itself, it'll happen again. It's already happened over and over in Chicago, going back for more than 100 years, ever since the Fine Arts Building opened and created the city's first artists' colony." The Migration of the Hipster. Via Gapers Block.
"Collagen, in turn, is necessary to keep your body together, and as scurvy advances joint pain and swelling accompany wounds that do not heal or even re-open and begin to bleed again. (Trapped in the Arctic in 1832, explorer John Ross began to bleed from wounds he'd received decades earlier in the Napoleonic Wars.) Your teeth come loose from your gums, because your body literally can no longer hold itself together.."
Inside Detroit's War With Arson.
Dancing with Black Widow Spiders.
A Post Gender Normative Woman Tries to Pick Up a Man at a Bar, by Jesse Eisenberg.
"The way I see it, Christopher Robin was feeling lonely and sad last night--maybe his girlfriend just dumped him, maybe he got rejected from the graduate program he was hoping to get in to. He'd probably been drinking, and he started getting wistful for days-gone-by, so he searched us all on Facebook and so-on-and-so-on and there we have it."
"If a record takes more than a week to make, somebody's f**king up." Albini's letter to the Nirvanas regarding what sorta became "In Utero." So much truth. Via Jamie 37.
The Internet Hates Me.
"I went on a cleanse once; it was a mixed blessing. On the one hand, I detoxified, I purified, I lost weight. On the other hand, I fell asleep on the highway, fantasized about eating a pigeon, and crapped my pants. I think I'll stick with the whole eating thing."
"The more charged a swear word is the more susceptible it becomes to grammatical transformation. This means that the boundaries between nouns and adjectives and adverbs can all get completely fucked up by swear words, and before you know it the little fuckers are everywhere." Colin Burrow's long, entertaining and profane review of Holy Shit by Melissa Mohr. Fucking great.
"Boil Simmer Reduce," and other important Notes on Design from the mind of Mr. Brendan Dawes.
Study questions sent by my english teacher on an e-mail from his wife, while they were going through a divorce, by James Slaymaker.
The Herald Scotland picks their list of the 50 greatest graphic novels of all time.
"...the kind of five-cent psychiatry that gives a bad name to nickels." Adam Gopnik for the NYer on the new Salinger bio and film.
Lexican is a collection of forgotten words by Studio Jubilee.
"ConAirbnb: A website where you rent to convicted felons and the rooms have a collection of Nicolas Cage films." Spinoffs of Airbnb.com.
Therefore, it is essential that you understand something about the French toast: it is not only my breakfast, it is the film. An Excerpt from Some Instructions to the New Guy Concerning the Preparation and Presentation of my French Toast, by Stanley Kubrick..
The syllabus from the class taught by David Foster Wallace that you didn't get to take.
"Used to register extreme discomfort, frequently accompanied by a gif of an octopus skittering away." Nicole Cliffe's Glossary For Annotated Email Correspondence From 2013.
Terrific post at Kottke, by Tim Carmody on the 50th anniversary of the Great March and Martin Luther King, In Living Memory.
Maria Bustillos on The Birth of the Bleep and Modern American Censorship.
"I was 21 when I got the call that they liked my packet and I was getting the job. I was throwing out a box of pizza into a dumpster at the moment. The next week I was in a room with Jimmy Kimmel. And his writers. And it was my 22nd birthday. And I felt like throwing up." Zulkey's interview with Jeff Loveness, a writer on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
For the next four months @WhitechapelRealTime will tweet Jack the Ripper murders as they happened along with other bits of Victorian life.
My thoughts exactly!
A Q & A with Chris Ware.
McSweeneys' interviews with people who have interesting or unusual jobs.
Don't say Lauren Passell didn't warn you. Do Not Read This Post: The 10 Biggest Book Spoilers, Ever. Via Claire.
Elmore Leonard wrote great opening lines, Here are all of them.
"Whom is vocabulary drenched in bourbon, monocles, and mustaches."
"Once, however, we had a company-wide meeting, and I had to let things go unfinished. A co-worker could tell I was antsy about being away and taunted me that there might be typos on the Internet." What It's Really Like To Be A Copy Editor, by Lori Fradkin.
We love ambitious, and big, print projects and Digest, a new magazine from Keir Whitaker and Elliot Jay Stocks certainly qualifies. Can't wait for it to fill the mailbox.
Bacon, an early bedtime, and a few tattoos to mark where the electrodes go. 13 Little Things NASA Did to Get Alan Shepard Ready for Space.
"James Joyce is a good model for punctuation. He keeps it to an absolute minimum. There's no reason to blot the page up with weird little marks. I mean, if you write properly you shouldn't have to punctuate." —Cormac McCarthy
A beautiful, heartbreaking, creative Missed Connection - M4W. Must read.
"Pardon me? No, sir, no hatchets. Nope, no pickaxes either. OK, listen, people, this isn't really that kind of place. It's always the same complaint: 'Joe, you don't have any of the essential items that every other trading post has. Why don't you have saddles? Or gunpowder? Or basic tools?' Because I have soy chorizo, that's why! Because I have chocolate-covered peanut-butter-filled pretzels! Because I have Parsnip Chips!"
Mat Honan on the Apple Newton's "Prophetic Failure and Lasting Impact."
"A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper." The daily routines of famous writers.
"...as God — along with Bach, Beethoven and Mozart — is my witness, you cannot 'reach' a crescendo."
"The cooler you keep your bit the longer it will last." Sage advice from Future Perfect.
Looking back at the week in animal science news, our SD's piece for Paper Machete.
"And we need to say to ourselves that the moment has come when we have to treat every last moving image as reverently and respectfully as the oldest book in the Library of Congress." An essay by Martin Scorsese, Reading the Language of Cinema.
The Atlantic asked 22 authors for their favorite first lines of books.
"Every Pixar movie is connected. I explain how, and possibly why." The incredibly detailed Pixar Theory.
"Yet the nightmare cast its shroud in the guise of a contagion of a deer-in-the-headlights paralysis." Prospero finds the world's worst sentence and offers some help to its author with the assistance of George Orwell. Via Language Log.
Bookmarked for future use, since it's the topic of about half the conversations BB and I have together: Hyphen, En Dash, Em Dash, Minus, and how to use each one.
"Your kind makes me puke; you low, vacuous, malodorous perverts. Your dearth of sensitivity is equaled only by your plethora of obnoxiousness." Very Untruly Yours.
"I have had my own bloody relationship with Nixon for many years, but I am not worried about it landing me in hell with him. I have already been there with that bastard, and I am a better person for it." HST on RMN.
"There was a time when I attempted to make 'cheers' more interesting by imagining that it referred to the popular sitcom starring Ted Danson, and thus began signing off emails by namechecking various 1980s comedies. However, as novel as this is, in the end signing off with 'The Golden Girls, Ben' or 'Family Ties, Ben' tends to come off a bit unprofessional, especially when dealing with HR."
"So now there are 100 of you left. Nice round number. But not for long! We're at the point in the page where you have to scroll to see more. Of the 100 of you who didn't bounce, five are never going to scroll. Bye!"
"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." We've been been quoting Deep Thoughts around the office all day, after reading this great NYT Jack Handey profile.
"You, however, will just want some ideas, please, by EOD Friday, two weeks after our initial Discovery session, which ended with an awkward hug. And we will give you ideas. We will suggest all sorts of creative things to do with your company! You will reject each and every one of them.
An Open Letter to the Worst Wax Museum in America.
"But look beneath the technique and what did you find? A sameness, a mental weariness, a mediocrity of ideas. But they could defend every ad on the basis that it obeyed the rules of advertising. It was like worshiping a ritual instead of the God." Bill Bernbach writing to his bosses at Grey, two years before he left to start DDB and change American advertising forever.
"Hey team, sorry for the last-minute meeting. I know there are a ton of distractions going on right now and morale here at Glimmerly has been getting pretty low due to long hours, missed deadlines, lower Manhattan being engulfed by the sea, and Southern California being razed to cinders by wildfire and RPG skirmishes. But I wanted to make sure everybody's totally focused on priority one: getting Glimmerly into the App Store by the first of the month."
The Letter, by Elon Green. A fine, long piece on the editorial history of The New Yorker.
"I noticed that in your fitness philosophy that you blog about, you tell me you want me to be my best everyday. If I were to subscribe to your RSS though, I was wondering if I could ever get a day off?" An Open Letter to #fitgirls, by Emma Froggatt.
100 opening lines from novels collected by American Book Review.
This has "Coudal" written all over it, but we sadly had nothing to do with it.
The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks.
Zulkey says farewell to WBEZ, preps to re-launch the original Zulkey.com.
Twenty questions for authors, none about writing. Kevin Guilfoile take on Giganticide admirably.
"Anatomy of a Hack: How crackers ransack passwords like qeadzcwrsfxv1331."
I Wish That We Could Both Be There, by William Dettloff for TMN. A brilliant piece using narrative and statistics to examine an accident from 1974, and how it has echoed through the last 40 years.
"Brandon Bollig skated expectantly toward the Zamboni entrance, searching for his loved ones the way a child leaving school scans the parking lot for his parents." Katie Baker on last night.
Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down by Rosecrans Baldwin is now out in paperback. It's just about the perfect summer read.
"I hereby acknowledge all camp dangers, hazards, and risks, which include but are not limited to: heat exhaustion; brain freeze; subatomic wedgies; pinkeye/pinkeverything; indelible nicknames; super-lice; religious conversions; copperhead bites; MRSA-related amputations; Truth or Dare games that end in felonies; death; and a lifelong aversion to pinto beans."
On today's date in 1964, the Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling that found Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer to be obscene. That and more on the SLAPS test here.
"We will need help deadlifting these oil drums filled with marbles." An Imagined Conversation Between the Construction Workers Upstairs From Me, by Ben Jurney.
The Art of the Trailer.
"Zozam managed five chilies. The winner, Namlui Rongmei, finished 14. He's crouched on the floor, glassy-eyed. I see him reach for the hem of the doctor's white coat. A man behind me squats in the shrubbery, checking his smartphone while he waits waits for the vomiting to commence..
"It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed. Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing of the world was long and warm and slow. You had only to rise, lean from your window, and know that this indeed was the first real time of freedom and living, this was the first morning of summer." So begins Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine.
"To characterize the similarities and differences between 'geek' and 'nerd,' maybe we can find the other words that tend to keep them company, and see if these linguistic companions support my point of view?"
Fly Fishing Fly or Cosmo-Approved Sex Position? By Kelly Slivka.
"S.81, a bill to allow asylum for persecuted democracy activists. Senator Kelly Ayotte invokes Rule 212, which sends the bill back to committee for review, then to every other Senate committee, then to every other political body within 3,000 miles. The bill is currently under review by the student council of Santa Rosa High School in the Dominican Republic."
"'If you're reading this letter, it means I've passed on to the other side, into the valley of perpetual brightness,' your light bulb will tell you," The Internet of Actual Things, by Giles Turnbull.
People who like this sort of thing will find it exactly the sort of thing they like. This long, insightful LRB article by Michael Wood on the four translations of Michael Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita has me jacked to read the book again. Sympathy For the Devil.
"Sure, I'd cleared my name after the police had pegged me for pocketing a peck of pickled peppers, but ever since my previous partner got plugged poking his peepers into one too many private places, the only thing I've been interested in pickling my liver."
"The one that caught my eye first was the one in the plaid green two-piece. She was a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two crescents of white just under it, where the sun never seems to hit, at the top of the backs of her legs." Tangentially related to a Twitter conversation, John Updike's "A&P".
"Since no one can see the future, I will answer by presenting twenty possible scenarios, which, admittedly, vary in their likelihood. Nevertheless, I feel it is best to try to be thorough so that at least one of the scenarios may prove true in five years. Most of the scenarios are positive, but a few negative scenarios are included for balance. Please note that during previous performance reviews I have been repeatedly told that I need to 'think outside the box'."
A look at the book La Tacopedia: Enciclopedia Del Taco, a reference for all things taco. Though why you would ever need consider one that isn't Sonoran style is beyond me.
"tweetthink - The impulse you have, after naturally saying something funny in conversation, to craft that statement into a social media post." Updates to the Newspeak Dictionary 2013.
Sometimes you're lucky enough to stumble onto something great. We all have our own version of the sorority girl email living inside of us, by Hannahmight. Bam.
Local note. You May Ask Yourself, How Did I Get Here? Bar none, Sam Fels is the funniest, smartest, most honest hockey writer in the city. In fact, it's not even close.
Me and Sad Keanu: A 3-D Printing Story.
"I started at noon and I was done by 1pm. I'd expected that maybe a hundred nerds would read it and enjoy it, and that some people would have had a fun lunch hour because of me. Instead, it changed the trajectory of my life. By the time I went home at five it'd had a quarter-of-a-million readers, a week later I had a manager, and a week after that I had a contract with Warner Brothers. They brought me on to write a treatment, and then a screenplay based on that treatment."
Zulkey interviews Stephen Rodrick, author of The Magical Stranger and recently, the fascinating, much-discussed NY Times story, "Here Is What Happens When You Cast Lindsay Lohan in Your Movie."
Watergate: The Video Game. There goes your 1972. I mean afternoon.
A rare piece that's both nerdy and fascinating, methinks. Tony Kroch uses a single famous sentence to examine the evolution of English, Protesting Too Much, for Language Log.
"I put all the dishes away, is that OK?" and other questions that get all women horny. By Claire Zulkey.
"I thought that the very concept of a man who was kidnapped by aliens was truly unbelievable and a tad ludicrous." Lone Star Statements, by Matthew Baldwin. A compilation of one-star Amazon reviews of great books.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and Hall and Oates.
"So many times as I walk the city, I can feel the quiet, as if it reaches from down into the soil, up into the sky. One night at my desk, I hear, with what seems like great violence, the noise of a car driving at a normal speed down Pragerstrasse, the street outside my apartment, followed by the noise of another. It is night and a weekday, and so unusual, it is almost like thunder." Everything in This City Must, by Alexander Chee.
"The hippo who tried to kill me wasn't a stranger - he and I had met before a number of times."
"I remember asking Christiane Kubrick what her husband was looking for during those ever lengthening gaps between films. She said, 'The magical moment of falling in love with a story.' I know that feeling well." Zulkey's interview with Jon Ronson, author of Them: Adventures with Extremists and The Men Who Stare at Goats, and director of Stanley Kubrick's Boxes.
"The Good Fairy Fairfuck helps him conquer his addiction to self-abuse, so he can embrace the joys of holy matrimony with his betrothed, the Princess Shovituppa." Melissa Mohr knows where all the dirtiest words come from.
Breaking Down the April NYT Vows Section. So great, as we've said a couple times before, Katie Baker is the bomb.
"Disappearing over the horizon at such speed as to leave a diminishing jet trail along its path, the Rocket Sled soon brought Mr. Coyote abreast of his prey. At that moment the animal he was pursuing veered sharply to the right. Mr. Coyote vigorously attempted to follow this maneuver but was unable to, due to poorly designed steering on the Rocket Sled..." An absolute classic, Ian Frazier's Wile E. Coyote, Plaintiff v. Acme Company, Defendant.
Long read of the day: The Body in Room 348.
So That If I Died It Mattered, by Jon Sands. Beautiful and honest and heart-breaking. Read this if you are a mother, or if you have one.
"Changing something from 'draft' to 'published' is like climbing a hill and looking down. The change in perspective makes certain things obvious." Elegy for the Text Box, by Paul Ford.
"A poster going by the screennames 'TimeTravel_0' and 'John Titor' on a variety of message boards, beginning with the forum at the Time Travel Institute, claimed he was a soldier sent from 2036, the year the computer virus wiped the world." The Mystery of John Titor, by Rick Paulas.
"Here, I mean, it's a movie. Which, by definition, is not real. Despite that challenging obstacle, the actors, with their swearing, their crappy furniture, their regular speech patterns, and their crying, they're trying to convince me that it is!" Earl Pomerantz is jaded about movies (except when he's not)
A classic that needs to be revisited periodically. Paul Brians' Commonly Made Suggestions about commonly made errors, and more importantly, Non-Errors, "those usages people keep telling you are wrong but which are actually standard in English." Which is exactly the sort of attitude up with which I will not put.
"Additionally, and I don't know what this has to do with anything, but I cried during Les Miserables."
Paul Miller is back online after a year without the internet. Great read.
"Because we didn't know what we were doing, we simply did whatever we had to do to make things work." Good advice from Jason Fried, The Importance of Quick and Dirty. I am a big proponent of not knowing what you're doing, in fact that's pretty much our entire business plan.
"It was one of countless hockey games we attended over the years, and certainly not the first between the two Original Six teams representing his home state of Michigan and the city he adopted and loved all out of proportion, Chicago." James Hughes on his father and hockey. Long and just lovely, with a fabulous photo of Buck Russell at Center Ice of the Chicago Stadium in 1989. Highly recommended.
"One opalescent night in childhood we played on our silver-frozen lake. A filthy boy in ragged skates swung his stick as I dove. Catching soft pink tissue inside my mouth, he tore a lone bicuspid free and shot it into the moonlit sky, enamel flashing overhead as I lay supine before the goal." Nabokov Wins One for the Islanders, by Andrea Pitzer.
"I haven't ever seen so many people staring at their phones like idiots,' he said, observing what I might have if I'd been looking up from my phone. 'They actually believe this stuff is worthwhile."
"You spend the first forty years of your life trying to get in this ----ing business, and the next forty years trying to get out. And then when you're making the bread, who needs it?" Saturday at Lee ----ing Marvin's, by Roger Ebert.
Charlotte's Web as branding case study, by Josh Berta.
"The most common of the genus ellipses, the Actual Ellipsis (AE) [not to be confused with '..,' the Moron's Ellipses (ME)] finds regular use in correspondence meant to suggest a sense of impending doom..." A Field Guide to Common Punctuation, by Peter K..
"I use fresh Rocky Mountain Spring Water from the break room water cooler for my PowerPoint Pilsner. I actually grow my own hops here, sustainably, on this Chia Pet in the sunny corner of my cubicle. My carbon footprint is like, negative."
"Even more insidious and common is in terms of, a fine phrase if you are talking about mathematical equations or economic functions in which specific "terms" are defined, but it is just loose and woolly when you say things like "in terms of culture," for which there are simply no clear terms." A great interview by Mark Danner with Robert Silvers, founding editor of the New York Review of Books.
"Ask an artist about the things they make, and you'll get the strangest answers. They are the closest to that work and sometimes, as a result, the furthest from it as well. They are not objective observers and so they do not always have reason, but they have hope and that is reason enough to ask them." Ben Greenman learns about his own book from other people's paintings. Brilliant.
Related to the last, the whole great story is beautifully told in Simon Winchester's The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary.
We are solidly confirmed Sriracha fans here at the studio so it's nice to see this article about how it was introduced to the U.S..
It's excellent news that John le Carré has not mellowed with age, by Dwight Garner.
The Morning News Tournament of Books is 4 for 9 in picking Pulitzers.
Maximal Meaning in Minimal Space: The History of Punctuation, by Keith Houston. Also, Houston's book on the same subject, Shady Characters, is available for pre-order.
"Books are ordered with an eye to their level of artistry, their long-term impact, and the extent to which they capture Chicago." Geoffrey Johnson's Top 40 Chicago Novels and another five from Book Riot.
Jay Fanelli is a failure and we like him that way. Thanks for the shout.
A couple of years ago, Australian illustrator James Gulliver Hancock moved to New York City and, in an effort to "own" his new home in his unique way, set out to draw every single building in town.
Long read of the day, Ain't It Cool's Harry Knowles: The Cash Strapped King of the Nerds Plots a Comeback.
"Once you've selected your Jingle Template, we will request that you provide us with the lyrical content you would like for Fred to incorporate into the finished product. We will not proceed without you submitting your desired lyrics. We will never use the lyrics you provide."
After receiving dozens of hand-drawn maps, Becky Cooper has collated some of the finest into a book: Mapping Manhattan: A Love (Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers.
English Consecutive Oral Sex Beijing Division Semi-Finals. Wait, what?
With all the high-stakes proofreading and press-checking we do around here, I routinely have nightmares about embarrassing typos sneaking into Field Notes, but my imagination will never top this.
In 1957, writer, public intellectual, lifelong art aficionado, and self-described "aging anthologist" Selden Rodman collected several dozen of his informal, lively, amusing, and insightful interviews with iconic artists and architects -- including Frank Lloyd Wright, Willem de Kooning, and Saul Steinberg -- in Conversations with Artists.
I've only just discovered The Paris Review, but it's celebrating its 60th year. I'd learned from another post that if you're creative and feeling a bit stuck, a great thing to do is read a biography or autobiography. The Paris Review has interviews with authors over seven decades. You can search by decade or by author. Prepare to be unstuck.
That's Different "AKA: Signs That You're Getting Older - One of A Series - Unless You Hate It Or I Hate It In Which Case It's 'One and Out', (which would have made it my longest post title ever but it isn't, because I moved it down to the body of the post and used 'That's Different' instead which, as a title, would tie for my second shortest.) By Earl Pomerantz.
On this day in 1950, J. D. Salinger's "For Esme - With Love and Squalor" was published in The New Yorker.
"Early on in the investigation, a lawyer from a Senate subcommittee investigating corruption in boxing came to interview Maffia and asked him if Don King was tied to organized crime. Hauser, who was in the room as Maffia's legal adviser, told the lawyer, 'You don't understand. Don King is organized crime.'" Jay Caspian Kang on Don King for Grantland.
"As the lights went down one last time, Ebert would have loved it if all those people sitting in the dark and hoping for the best understood that his approach to movies was big enough, openhearted enough to embrace far more than the movies he'd loved all his life."
"But in addition to its magnificent legacy in the history of letter writing, the comma gives us pause to build our anticipation or steel ourselves in preparation." The Comma From Which My Heart Hangs, by Benjamin Samuel. Bravo sir, bravo.
Long read of the day, Heart of Sharkness. Not for faint of heart.
I'm a day late with this, what a schnook.
In honor of opening day here in Chicago today, James Earl Jones reads Casey at the Bat.
"James the Less agrees with Jesus and says that Jesus's entry into Jerusalem while riding a donkey and wearing a hoodie got him major cred with twenty-something startup CEOs." Official Meeting Minutes From the Last Supper.
Natasha Vargas-Cooper calmly detonates a bomb in the first of two Zombie Round matches in The Morning News Tournament of Books, featuring John Green's The Fault in Our Stars vs. Chris Ware's Building Stories. I expect the comment section will go right up in flames as well. Fabulous.
And then there were four.
"Her work is characterized by a keen eye for the most flattering angle, the frequent inclusion of an ever-changing cast of BFFs and stunning repetition." Selfies of Becky Jones: A Retrospective, by Sarah Anders.
"This has to be the biggest upset in the nine years of the Tournament. We're talking NC State over Phi Slama Jama Houston, or Buster Douglas taking down Mike Tyson, or AfterMASH getting a second season." John Warner on today's last Quarterfinal Match in the ToB.
"The idea of crowd-sourcing personal decisions did not occur to Merrill until after he disclosed to shareholders... that he had moved in with his then-girlfriend. One shareholder promptly complained that the decision, which could easily impact Merrill's creative output, constituted a unilateral management maneuver that put investor capital at risk." How One Man Turned Himself Into a Publicly Owned Company, by Rob Walker.
Michael Lopp knows you are a beautiful snowflake, despite what it says on your business card. Titles are Toxic.
Things are getting serious now. The Quarterfinals have begun in the The Morning News Tournament of Books. Today pits John Green's The Fault in our Stars against Adam Johnson's The Orphan Master's Son.
March Madness for Book Geeks. Thanks for that.
"Remember, that while the captain may have played the genial host under normal conditions, his authority is absolute." The Unlikely Event, by Avi Steinberg.
Jake Knapp can't handle infinity in his pocket.
A roundtable on this year's Tournament of Books, and how it got that way.
The new "Mental Illness" entry in the AP Stylebook is worth a read for everyone.
On the Writing of the Insane, a book of observations on the peculiarities of writing styles as shown by asylum patients.
Documentary Ars Magna, obsessed with anagrams.
"You chose the Fire Pit Bacon Burger, and she chose the Chicken Quesadilla Grande, and in that moment, all was perfect. Remember that, my friend. When it was go time, you brought her to the Neighborhood. And you ate good in the Neighborhood. You ate good, damn it."
"Both of these were so good. As I type this out I'm realizing that I haven't quite made up my mind. Did I just sit down and start writing, hoping that I'd figure it out? Maybe. Was this maybe not the greatest plan? Maybe not. And what if I don't figure it out? Can this end in a tie? Do we go to overtime?" Charles Yu has to decide betweeen Chris Ware's Building Stories and Alice Munro's Dear Life in today's Opening Round Match of the Tournament of Books.
"As it turned out, Lucas had already done the cataloging. His company maintained a database called the Holocron, named after a crystal cube powered by the Force. The real-world Holocron lists 17,000 characters in the Star Wars universe inhabiting several thousand planets over a span of more than 20,000 years." How Disney Bought Lucasfilm.
"All of these books work as fully realized narratives by virtue of how the authors forged text and imagery, making for truly singular works." Buzz Poole on illustrated books.
The Morning News Tournament of Books kicks off this morning with a three book "play-in" for the final spot on the brackets and it's off to a fine start. First round matches start on Thursday.
So you know, the strangest unsolved mystery of the last century, the Russian Dyatlov Pass Incident.
"In his first week, he pulled aside a colleague to ask a question: How hard it is for a nonemployee to enter the building?" The story of an ongoing, month-long 23 year old game of tag between four friends. Likely already optioned as a film for Vince Vaughn to star in.
"...tasteful covers rarely stand out on the shelves and from a marketing perspective there isn't anything necessarily wrong with something being dissonant."
You'll Never Get Anywhere Like That, Or a Few Thoughts on the Cover Design of The Bell Jar, by Dan Wagstaff.
Long read of the day, The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food .
The Morning News 2013 Tournament of Books Brackets are up with a sweet poster by Liz Meyer.
"I decided that if I was ever going to do anything more substantial, then I had to only do that thing."
Adam Lisagor on The Great Discontent.
"Don't be a jerk" and other ideas that are the result of our pal Chris Coyier's translation of Terms of Service into English. Bravo.
The man who makes me swoon answers some questions.
"As social chair of my fraternity, AXA, I not only increased the attendance of our weekly No Pants Parties by 30%, I successfully persuaded the Dartmouth Disciplinary Council to permit AXA to conduct internal reviews of alleged incidents of sexual harassment and bullying. I am a problem solver." John Ortved would like to be Pope.
"My dad died before he was nominated for two Academy Awards. So my mom took me instead." Kate Arthur's "My Father, All That Jazz, the 1980 Oscars - And Me." Great read.
Zulkey put together a Random Roles feature for the AV Club with Linda Cardellini, from the short-lived but beloved, Freaks and Geeks.
Great long read of the day: "Michael Jordan Has Not Left the Building" by Wright Thompson for ESPN.
"Given his aloofness, it's easy to see how Washington the man became Washington the Mona Lisa gracing the American dollar bill. Not necessarily as pretty, but just as enigmatic." Huzzah, George Washington, Secret Basketcase And First President. Discuss.
Fascinating true crime story from Natasha Vargas-Cooper: "When A 10-Year-Old Kills His Nazi Father, Who's To Blame?"
Alex Kotlowitz's painful piece in this week's Time Out: "Youth Violence in Chicago."
Really great long read of the day, Kevin Pang's piece on Chicago chef Curtis Duffy, His Saving Grace.
"The fact is that most of the people in this world will never know what the weather in February here feels like. We own that here. We're proud of it. It's what seems to set us apart." February in Chicago. Via GB.
While the article itself is a great, detailed breakdown of The Battle of Hoth, commenter JordanViray completely steals the show.
A great read on social media do's and don'ts.
"Good morning, and welcome to Advanced English Literature— I'm Professor Anglosoundingname. As you can see, I have a mane of silver hair and wear a corduroy blazer with leather elbow patches..." I'm an English Professor In a Movie, by Teddy Wayne.
The Rise of Bounding Asterisks (*ahem*) in Lieu of Italicization for Styling Text, by John Gruber.
"Coachella is being headlined by Blur, Wu-Tang Clan, Dinosaur Jr, and Moby." New York's Carl Swanson discusses the New Museum's belief that it's been 1993 for the past twenty years. "Are We Still Living in 1993?"
Great read about a family of six, lost in Siberia for more than 40 years, discovered by a Soviet geology team in 1978.
Start the Week explores George Orwell's undergrad staple: "Politics and the English Language."
On this dat in 1969 Neal "Fastestmanalive" Cassady died.
"We are an attractive demographic, so our foibles attract a certain amount of interest." Zulkey interviews Hal Higdon, the running legend and prolific writer about running.
"The French elite pretend not to read him, but they all do." The Spy Novelist Who Knows Too Much, by Robert F. Worth.
"full day of island activities tomorrow! Gonna play some sorta game. think we may also be hunting." The #MostDangerousGame.
The Fish estimates sea thicket is angry.
Using screen recording software, novelist Brandon Sanderson lets his fans watch as he writes his new book.
This is what you call a class act.
"I will make at least one effort per month to engage my direct reports on a more personal level, whether that means talking about sports, asking about their children, or telling them about my marital problems. The topic is not important, so long as I have demonstrated that I am not too proud to stoop down to their level for a few seconds."
This Pictorial Atlas is a collection of over 225 illustrations depicting all the major representations of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey as can be found in classical antiquity.
So you know, Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum.
"I'd wait for the 4:15 screening in theater fifteen, presented in 2D Action Focus format. It has a running time of 70 minutes with no dwarf songs..." An Unexpected Screening Format Decision, by Martin Azevedo.
A nostalgic and nerdy read that could easily serve as my personal history from 1994 - 1996 as well, having worked at two stores myself: "How I Launched 3 Consoles (and Found True Love) at Babbage's Store No. 9."
Zulkey interviews Matt Besser, founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade (and Little Donny himself).
2013 Tournament of Books Zombie Poll!
A big, ambitious piece that delivers, by Laura June for The Verge, For Amusement Only: The Life and Death of the American Arcade.
The true story of a Mutiny in Space.
An amazing set of circumstances lead to a life saved.
"I must confess to being rather blindsided by the end of our relationship. It seems Captain Von Trapp and I misunderstood each other. I assumed he was looking for a wife of taste and sophistication, who was a dead ringer for Tippi Hedren; instead he wanted to marry a curtain-wearing religious fanatic who shouts every word she says."
"He plays a schmaltzy video where Portuguese children teach adults to use Windows 8 accompanied by a hyperloud xylophone soundtrack that slices through my hangover like cheesewire though lukewarm gouda."
Do Svidaniya to All That. I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again, "Kety Beyker" is the bomb.
A must-read story about a Chicago tavern and an odd confrontation with "shameless" Richard Marx. Right Here Waiting by Ted McClelland for TMN.
Pretty sure I write at least two.
"Refresh was clicked, again and again, but still did Internet Explorer 6 not load The Google. Perhaps The Google was broken, the people thought, but then The Yahoo too did not load." A classic. In Which I Fix My Girlfriend's Grandparents' WiFi and Am Hailed as a Conquering Hero, by Mike Lacher.
It's always fun and instructive when Jeff O'Neal posts his Tournament of Books Pre-Game Analysis.
"The Running Boy," Ron Tanner's short history of and meditation on the children at play road sign and its various iterations.
"Is Wright happy? Impossible to tell; he reacts in neither a positive nor negative way, he simply moves on to the next lot." Behind the scenes at the Wright Auction House, which is
just down the street from us. Fascinating. Via Jason Fried.
Two great true stories from WWII, Why A German Pilot Escorted An American Bomber to Safety and The Power of Music.
Nothing terribly revealing here, but it's always nice to read an interview with John Lurie talking about Fishing with John.
Nicely designed site and print edition of Western Washington University's Jeopardy Magazine.
Fantastic long read of the day, Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek.
"And yet today, we are being explicitly invited to consider everything as being a little dollop from one giant homogenous lump of 'contemporary culture', an exercise in flattening and blending that takes away the delight of discovery." What Things Magazine is thinking here, at the end of the year. Amen.
TMN's The Year That Was and Wasn't.
The Rooster crows in December! The contestants and judges have been announced for The 2013 Tournament of Books at The Morning News.
Audience Participation Cues for the My Dinner With Andre Midnight Madness Screening, by Luke Burns.
Related to the last, John Warner on Getting to Know the Real Ralphie.
"The language of our culture no longer describes real life and, pretty soon, something's gonna blow." Cool. Donald Fagan on Jean Shepherd, The Man Who Told A Christmas Story.
For Skyler, how to download your Instagram photos and kill your account.
It's the unfortunate end of an era as FotA Keith Phipps has departed as the editor of the AV Club. Here's a glass raised to all of the good things surely on the horizon for him in the future.
The Atlantic's Best (Worst?) Typos, Mistakes, and Correrctions of 2012, by Jen Doll. Via Kottke.
The Origin and Development of the Quotation Mark, by Philippe Theophanidis.
The New Yorker gives us their picks for the Best Movies of 2012.
"I lead a crew of energetic but woefully trendy young designers who have never learned to set type by hand and never will. My account team is combative and seems to delight in miscommunicating with clients." The World's First and Only Completely Honest Resume of a Graphic Designer, by Marco Kaye.
The Floppy Disk Means Save, and 14 Other Old People Icons That Don't Make Sense Anymore, by Scott Hanselman.
Long read of the day and a must for all who loved the show like I did, The Oral History of Freaks and Geeks.
"Or check this out: an .rtf containing the text of the original 42-line Gutenberg Bible, elegantly typeset in MS Courier New. I have a couple thousand other copies of the file on an external hard drive, but I'll happily delete them to make this one rarer if you like."
So you know, the history of boredom.
"The simple channeling of that anger into a funnel of spite. There's something undeniably beautiful about a well-worded curse. Go ahead. Give it a try." Removing My Curse, by Robin Hemley.
In honor of Samuel Longhorn Clemens' birthday today, a letter to An Idiot of the 33rd Degree.
"We are raising a nation of sticker putter-on-ers." Sad but true. Dr. Amy Fusselman's Handy Guide to Minivan Stick-Figure Decals. Note: Amy Fusselman is not a doctor.
"Disappearing over the horizon at such speed as to leave a diminishing jet trail along its path, the Rocket Sled soon brought Mr. Coyote abreast of his prey. At that moment the animal he was pursuing veered sharply to the right. Mr. Coyote vigorously attempted to follow this maneuver but was unable to, due to poorly designed steering on the Rocket Sled..." Related to the last, an absolute classic, Ian Frazier's Wile E. Coyote, Plaintiff v. Acme Company, Defendant.
"And ideally, you'll grant me access to your bedroom so I can be a witness to the moment your baby is conceived." Artisanal Baby Naming, by Bob Powers.
Relink. "We found out that my hooker with a heart of gold had spent some time the previous night doing what many of us do while waiting for a john to return from a smoke break: editing photos on facebook." Sledgehammer and Whore, a great story by a screenwriter named Josh.
Everyone Get the Hell Out of the Kitchen Right Now Before I Kill All of You Cranberry-Orange Dressing and other Recipes for a Fun-Filled Thanksgiving.
"That's a gross exaggeration. Henry James adored me; incidentally, many consider him the paradigm of subtlety; he was certainly more subtle than that Vonnegut fellow." Interview with a semicolon.
Great long read of the day, Why Trevell Coleman Charged Himself With Murder.
Largehearted Boy, "For the fifth straight year, I will be aggregating every online 'best of 2012' book list I find in this post."
Thanks for the reminder Coop. Here's something I wrote in October of 2005. That sure seems like a long time ago now, and a lot has changed, but the heart of the matter is as true today as it was then.
Great read, When the Nerds Go Marching In.
"Venice is certifiably one of the last places on earth where you'd think of walking through a restaurant door and ordering a turkey dinner on the fourth Thursday in November. But that kind of logic is weak beer to my mother." Rosecrans Baldwin's Thanksgiving in Venice.
A fascinating story from NPR yesterday about the the differences in educating and indicating intelligence: "Struggle for Smarts? How Eastern and Western Cultures Tackle Learning."
Maria Popova's illustrated review of My Ideal Bookshelf, Jane Mount's portraits of artists through the spines of their favorite books.
"The device of having a cockroach leave messages in his typewriter in the Sun office was a lucky accident and a happy solution for an acute problem." E.B. White's introduction for The Lives and Times of Archy and Mehitabel by Don Marquis.
Google Poetics, auto-completed search results as verse. Awesome.
"Think of it as a well-meaning doff of a roundel-sized hat - one, mind you, that has nothing to do with Transport for London or the office of the Mayor of London." 150 Great Things About the Underground.
"I really wanted to be extremely open-minded about this novel. Obviously because we take our Classic Trash deathly seriously, but also because people who are super into Atlas Shrugged are the sort of people who send nasty emails about how you are a parasitic Communist who couldn't make a better kind of steel to save your life." Who Is John Galt's Chiropractor? by Nicole Cliffe. Terrific.
The man who makes me swoon has a request for those who can in NYC to Eat Out and Tip Big.
Ben Hedin on whether the 1962 National Book Award to The Moviegoer was a fix. Via KG.
Liam Callanan also wrote a book called Cloud Atlas.
Easy does it for Jason Fried.
The Curious Case of the Sherlock Pilgrims.
Popular Mechanics give us their 100 Best Sci-Fi Movies of all time.
A bride disappears on her wedding day, never to be seen again—or will she? The Missing Bride, a Halloween tradition at TMN.
John Gruber's iPad Mini review.
"Verbing weirds language."
The Atlantic makes "The Case Against Sending TV Reporters Out in Hurricanes." But to play devil's advocate, how else then would we know that there is rain and powerful wind?
Joe Queenan's "My 6,128 Favorite Books," an excerpt in the WSJ from his new book about the joys and perils of being a reader, One for the Books.
"I am going to own up in advance to all the wickedness I have done, and if any congressional committee is disposed to prowl around my biography in the hope of discovering any dark and deadly deed that I have secreted, why—let it prowl." Campaign Promises from Mark Twain.
Did you ever have one of those weeks where you have a bunch of stuff to do and you have no problem starting anything but then after a little while, either because you're unhappy with the progress you have made or because you suddenly find it difficult to focus on the work at hand, you become distracted and then you have to start all over, but now that project doesn't seems so attractive anymore so you rummage around and pick up another bit of work only to find that your enthusiasm, which at first seemed boundless, has disappeared right in the middle of
"Sometimes it seems as if her creatures were born merely to give Jane Austen the supreme delight of slicing their heads off." Sense and Sensibility was published ob this date in 1811.
"This morning over breakfast S. asked me why I looked so glum. 'Because,' I said, 'everything that exists is born for no reason, carries on living through weakness, and dies by accident. 'Jesus,' S. said. 'Aren't you ever off the clock?'
Jean-Paul Sarte's Blog.
It's often lost in the candy-coated, super-styled proceedings of the holiday, but Halloween is really all about departed souls and dealing with loss.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Coraline, author Neil Gaiman asked a few of his friends to each read a chapter. Fab.
An oldie but a goodie from KG, and appropriate for today. How I Voted in the Weather Channel's Top 10 Storms of the Century Poll.
God's Little Acre of Diamonds: Observations On Travel Ball in Cobb County, Georgia. Take the Field, Boys, by Stella A.
"Highlighting forgotten, neglected, abandoned, forsaken, unrecognized, unacknowledged, overshadowed, out-of-fashion, under-translated writers. Has no one read your books? You are in good company." Writers No One Reads from Will Schofield.
Congrats to FotA and former CP Guest Editor, Jami Attenberg, for the big publication day of her new novel, The Middlesteins. Not too shabby with the gushing Franzen blurb there, Jami.
"Mog, opponent: Gog not make crop die. Mog know this. Mog know Gog inherit Bad Times after sorcerer enchant puppet. But Mog say Gog make problem worse with stone tablet that have many word on it." Election 20,012 B.C.: Where the Candidates Stand on the Issues.
In Pursuit of the Great American Jean.
Sportswriting-wise, Katie Baker is the bomb.
A heartbreaking interview with two best friends, one an undocumented immigrant, aired on WBEZ this morning.
A series of graphics for Brockhaus Encyclopedia by Martin Oberhäuser. Lovely compositions of information presented clearly and dramatically.
Related to the last. A Drive into the Gap by Kevin Guilfoile from Field Notes Brand Books. A true story about fathers and sons, baseball and memory, and the improbable journey of a bat from one of the most iconic moments in the history of the game to the bedroom of a 12-year-old boy.
"...as I fanned through the pages, this little piece of pink and orange cardboard, with a string attached, popped out of the book and fluttered to the carpet." Kevin Guilfoile makes a sweet find. The Secret Of Pitcher Pollock, at ChicagoSide and also in TimeOut Chicago this week.
Q & A with Chris Ware.
Don't worry, it is not just you.
Take out "Let's" replace with "Just."
Speaking of John "The Biblioracle" Warner, he writes, "That one's my favorite. I'm never going to be invited to the Top 10 table with Patterson, Rowling, and Grisham, but at 4,609, if the authors of the world are meeting at a mid-sized arena, I can at least get an invite." Putting on Clean Underwear Before You Leave the House.
Reading Is in the Air, the Bilblioracle is live today to 2pm ET. Tell him the last five books you've read and he'll tell you what to read next.
"Most noticeably, the magazine dispenses with the tone that the critic Alexander Cockburn described as 'cookbook pastoral'-- the sense that the ideal dinner is a sit-down for 16 with candlelight and hydrangea and unbridled toasting, a pseudo-Mediterranean hedonism that precludes wailing toddlers and mismatched silverware." A look at the man behind Cook's Illustrated.
"The potatoes looked amazing fading off into the blur of a shallow focal range that ends at the saturated greens and yellows of herbs, and cornbread, and lemon garnish on the left just below where the sunset creates the lens flare that bounces off your icy bottle of beer." Pleased to Meet the Facebook Version of You.
"Go back five years, ten, fifty and reconsider how dusty, tinted, scratched, warped the lens through which these events will be considered." —Jan Chipchase, Your Memories Laid Bare. Just brilliant.
Kliph Nesteroff continues to post fascinating glimpses into the seedy side of mid-20th century show biz. The latest is titled, "The Comedian Who Became a Joke."
TMN's Dennis Mahoney has five horror films you must see.
"I have read like a man on fire my whole life because the genius of English teachers touched me with the dazzling beauty of language. Because of them I rode with Don Quixote and danced with Anna Karenina at a ball in St. Petersburg and lassoed a steer in Lonesome Dove and had nightmares about slavery in Beloved and walked the streets of Dublin in Ulysses and made up a hundred stories in The Arabian Nights and saw my mother killed by a baseball in A Prayer for Owen Meany." Book-Banners are Invariably Idiots.
"A baby then, now a middle-aged man, Ferry would go on to gain weight, change his name to the more ethnic-sounding Fieri, frost the tips of his hair blond, wear his sunglasses on the back of his head, become a Food Network star and open, at the beginning of September, Guy's American Kitchen and Bar in Times Square, a restaurant that would be indicted for crimes against humanity, if only that crime fell within Department of Health's purview." Trashed.
Book trailer for Instant: The Story of Polaroid.
"Others, however, hold that it refers to the haze in the air that resulted from Indian prairie fires—fires that were lit predominantly in these early weeks of autumn." Shades of Red: On Indian Summer, by Maria Konnikova. Via Kirstin Butler.
GQ's James Bond Special Covers.
A nice interview with Randall Munroe, creator of the fab XKCD.
Related to the last: Zulkey interviews Steve Edwards as he leaves radio to become the head of the University of Chicago's new Institute of Politics.
"That affection and frequency and quality of sexual relations dropped precipitously and quite nearly to zero following the 'nearly unforgiveable betrayal/horrible, but honest mistake' is to expected, the normal course following a relationship's near collapse, as is the increase in negative measurements like amount of shouting, and overall alcohol intake." John Warner wants to know if We Are Better Off Than We Were Four Years Ago? Great.
"Not that they didn't try to produce some interesting twists. There was the mid-season ratings push with the episode about finally catching Osama Bin Laden--but even that felt forced and poorly handled. Where was the MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner? Where were the fighter jets?" Mid-Season Review of Hit Television Series American Election 2012.
The Awl's Classic Trash. Nicole Cliffe on Stranger In A Strange Land. Can You Grok That?
"We won't use it in the 'Weddings/Celebrations' section, because that would be crass, even though our readers know every article could accurately conclude with the happy couple going to take part in the very act depicted by the word we have now resolved to print on occasion." The New York Times Announces an Editorial Policy Change, by Sarah Rosenshine
75 years. 100 million copies. 14 covers of The Hobbit.
Fifty Years of Bond.
Fuck Jet Packs. Good writing, strong opinions and a layout that's a breath of fresh air.
Related again, scans of a sweet 1976 Russian illustrated edition of The Hobbit.
"He wheezed with laughter. He laughed at his own jokes. He was practical. He was shy. He amused himself, during workshops, by doodling." An essay on what Kurt Vonnegut was like as a teacher at the Writers' Workshop.
"Man produces evil as a bee produces honey." On this day in 1954 William Golding's first novel, The Lord of the Flies, was published after being rejected twenty-one times.
"A logo exploration that includes at least five unique logo designs. These will consist of differently sized circles and in one case the words will be rotated to a landscape rather than a portrait view. If you want your actual company name below the logo, that will be part of round two and will require additional dollars and conceptual exploration time." A Candid Proposal from an Advertising Firm's Creative Director.
Zulkey's interview with Cheryl Strayed, the author and advice columnist whose book, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, relaunched Oprah's Book Club.
Death of a Pressman, by Fritz Swanson. A beautiful appreciation of a tradesman and his trade.
"No, but five minutes ago she posted a photo of her wearing green roller skates on Instagram. Is this what they look like?" Wikipedia handed his dad the phone. "Yes, except they don't look old and blurry like that."
"That's just the filter she's using," Leroy said. "They don't really look like that." Wikipedia Brown.
"As the title of this filter suggests, you are tirelessly optimistic. Your images are the pictorial equivalent of lyrics to a Sheryl Crow song, which goes something like, 'Outside of a car wash/There's my silver Honda Civic/Here are my feet on green grass/I got a new haircut!" Your Instagram Horoscope.
"So let me get this straight, I'm supposed to buy expensive wrinkle cream because my crows feet are so unappealing? All of that laughing and smiling was such a bad idea. But how will I have time to apply this cream if I'm so concerned about getting the grass stains out of my child's jeans?" An Open Letter from Elaina Deboard to the People in Charge of Commercials Targeting Women.
"Henry does nothing. ever. He's good at mowing the lawn while i garden and then throwing it up as soon as we come back inside." Review of My Cat.
So you know, the accidental history of the @ symbol.
"You are currently subscribed to Casual Romantic And Sexual Relationship That Is Becoming Serious. You are requesting to modify our relationship, is that correct?" Click Here to Unsubscribe From This Relationship, by Sarah Pavis.
"Lists maybe the simplest way to organize-- we have our to-do lists --but they do so much more. They can tell a story, unveil personal dramas and influence history." Ode to the List.
Interesting read, The Blogger and the Radio Star.
"I understand, because of cellphones, the three-finger-curled-thumb-up-pinkie-down 'Call me' has generally replaced it. But I had no idea the fist 'Call me' was now persona non grata in polite society." Leading The Trend, by Earl Pomerantz.
Speaking of Roberto and chasing ghosts, KG's A Drive into the Gap is available. Your Dad needs one. You need one. The whole darn Little League team needs one.
Related to the last and a classic that needs to be revisited periodically. Paul Brians' Commonly Made Suggestions about commonly made errors, and more importantly, Non-Errors, "those usages people keep telling you are wrong but which are actually standard in English." Which is exactly the sort of attitude up with which I will not put.
"Boys, can you make a website?" Z gets The Great Discontent treatment. I love stories about how people got where they are and where they're going next, and this is a good one.
"When everyone is known by name, the value of being known shifts to the extremes." Let's Agree That I Don't Know You —Jan Chipchase.
David Hill loves horse racing for the same reasons I love horse racing.
A vision for the future of newspapers from 20 years ago.
As an urban gardener, I totally feel Mike's frustration with thieving squirrels. Many a morning I have awoken to half-eaten tomatoes jalapenos and bell peppers scattered on the deck. Not to mention the red flower body parts savagely strewn about, never the yellow or orange, just the red flowers. That said, I'm not sure I am ready to take revenge the way he did.
"She was a doozy of a dame, with dangerous eyes like blue screens of death and a dark umber HP Pavilion laptop with a 640 GB hard drive she'd dropped off the day before. I'd taken her case at the recommendation of her father, the landlord, on account of my being two months behind on the rent." Raymond Chandler's The Man Who Repaired Laptops.
Zulkey's interview with Chad Harbach, author of The Art of Fielding.
"Q: When did you lose your faith in humanity?
A: I work at a casino. About six years ago a guy keeled over on the smoking patio. There were two women with him. One ran into the casino to get help, but the other one who was still out there—she stole his chips."
Family Vacation Week Debate Schedule.
This is exactly what makes the internet great. Science proves Luke Skywalker should have died in the Tauntaun's belly.
"I demand that you seize this book." The fascinating story of James Joyce's Ulysses coming to America. On this day in 1934 the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled on the novel's fate.
The Great Taxonomy of Literary Tumblrs: Round Two, by Nick Moran. A great resource and a serious procrastination trigger.
"She had sort of oaky hair that the sun and salt had bleached, done up in a bun that was unravelling, and a kind of prim face. Walking into the A & P with your straps down, I suppose it's the only kind of face you can have." Apropos of nothing except the weather, "A&P" by John Updike.
Related to below, Helping Men Choose the Right Jeans.
Help them. Please.
Give it five minutes. Amen Jason.
"I feel I have company about me when I'm alone in the woods."
Nick O'Connell interviewed Maclean for The Writer's Workshop.
"How can a question be answered that asks a lifetime of questions?" Philip Connors' brilliant essay on Maclean is mandatory reading if you're a devoted fan, and a great place to start if you're not one, yet.
US Forest Service Intermountain Research Station General Technical Report by Richard C. Rothermel, Mann Gulch Fire: A Race That Couldn't Be Won. (pdf)
"A new fire often looks beautiful, first a wisp of white like a feather, a single snag puffing a little finger of smoke in the air. I see it before it has a name. Like Adam with an animal before him..." A Talent for Sloth, by Philip Conners.
"A new fire often looks beautiful, first a wisp of white like a feather, a single snag puffing a little finger of smoke in the air. I see it before it has a name. Like Adam with an animal before him..." A Talent for Sloth, by Philip Conners.
Norman Maclean, quoted.
"...the finest fuck-you prose in the English language." Maclean writes back to an editor who had previously rejected A River Runs Through It.
Related to the last. Dick Gordon interviews Bob Sallee whose very first fire-jump was into the Mann Gulch Fire as a 17 year-old in 1949.
An excerpt from Maclean's remarkable Young Men and Fire.
"When I was young, a teacher had forbidden me to say 'more perfect' because she said if a thing is perfect it can't be more so. But by now I had seen enough of life to have regained my confidence in it." CP hero Norman Maclean died on this date in 1990.
"I don't think anyone should be surprised to find odd odors in a lakeside rental cabin, and I see no reason why anyone should use this book to address other renters." Excerpts from Lohanda Lake Cabin's Guest Book, 2006-2011, by Bob Powers.
"If you get a salami from home, you have to share it." Earl Pomerantz recalls Friday night dinners at summer camp.
"Campaign finance regulations used to place a cap on individual contributions, and the identity of each donor had to be logged with the FEC--so even He-Who-Must-Not- Be-Named had to be, you know, named. It was public information, for example, that Tom Marvolo Riddle contributed the maximum-allowed $5,000 to John McCain's '08 presidential run."
A Sign Set for Any College Town, by Larry Buchanan, from his series "Graphic Dispatches from a Recent College Grad Still Living in a College Town."
"The semicolon keeps the words above water." So you know, how to use semicolons, by Mary Norris.
A very low-fi recording of something that will appeal only to a small group of people: an edition of Live from Prairie Lights with readings from the The Burg: A Writer's Diner, a new collection of personal essays about Iowa City's iconic Hamburg Inn. Not sure if there are any mentions of the pie shakes.
"How will this information help you in any way? 'But it's a list, so it's short,' you say to yourself without realizing that you are saying that to yourself." This is a list of things in list form that you are now reading a list of, by Oliver Miller.
Attention people: The Universe is now on Twitter.
"Most words are rare, and rare words occur almost entirely in print." On Word Learning, Incidentally, by Jessica Love. A fascinating piece on how we use context to unravel meaning. Not a bit cumbrous
On this day in 1951 J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye was published.
Attention Cable and Satellite Subscribers: This Network is Being Dropped Because Your Provider is Being a Giant Douche, by John Flowers.
So you know: "The Little-Known History of How the Modern Olympics Got Their Start."
"You might say that human beings are analog creatures with certain digital tendencies..." Not Fade Away: On Living, Dying, and the Digital Afterlife by Maria Bustillos.
Old MacDonald Had an Organic Urban Rooftop Farm. "And on that farm he had a vegan girlfriend named September who he met at a sheep shearing class at 3rdWard in Brooklyn."
Why I Love Westerns (Which I May Have Written Already But Am Doing Again In A Refreshingly Different Context) —Earl Pomerantz.
"For yif yt be nat oon thyng, yt ys anothir." Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog.
"For yif yt be nat oon thyng, yt ys anothir." Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog.
"Despite the warnings of the teenagers loitering outside the building, I was not murdered during my stay." Great Vacation Rental Available! by Jeremy Blachman.
Kurt Vonnegut interview in the Paris Review.
Great title and a fun, definitely-of-its-era read: "Never Before Published Transcript of a Conversation Between John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Timothy Leary and Rosemary Leary - at the Montreal Bed-In, May 1969."
"It'd be nice to think that every single ad award was a clear, neutral judgement of pure quality, but if you believe that you probably still write letters to Santa." Great read by Ben Kay about the brouhaha at Cannes: "Tactical Voting at Cannes: Storm in a Rose Glass."
For the love of jargon, a would-be anthropologist talks like a trucker, by Carol Saller.
Peter Mendelsund asks, "What color is your Ishmael's hair?" and "What does Anna Karenina look like?" in an insightful essay on Picturing Books. Highly recommended.
"Those of you who are able to read can see that between the added revenue stream of selling placements from other brands and the increased awareness by cross-marketing into previously untapped venues, we have begun to turn the corner." Eeyore Gets a Marketing Boost Through Synergetic Merchandising Cross-Promotion.
Giles Turnbull answers the crazy questions that get asked in big company job interviews. Define the Ratio of People to Cake for TMN.
"There's almost never a time when every decision you make is correct and every step is in the right direction. Life, like bowling, is full of complicating factors, unpredictable variables, plenty of times when there is no right answer." The Most Amazing Bowling Story Ever. Via MeFi.
Microsoft Surface: Between a Rock and a Hardware Place. That boom you just heard was the last sentence landing. A perfect example of what we love about Daring Fireball.
Today's long read: "Kenneth Lonergan's Thwarted Masterpiece."
"On nights like that..."
Drunk texts from famous authors.
Today's long read: "A Case So Cold It Was Blue."
A fun read from the NY Times about the legacy of the Automat: "Revisiting the Era of Automatic Dining."
"As with the novel, the play was very much a test of endurance." A review of the 24 hour long theatrical adaptation of Infinite Jest.
A San Diego high school student's 1963 survey of famous authors regarding Symbolism in their work. (Spoiler alert: Ayn Rand is a jerk.)
Long read of the day: Natasha Vargas-Cooper's feature story for Spin: "Bath Salts: Deep in the Heart of America's New Drug Nightmare."
Pretty sure no one here could do it.
Ulysses, selectively annotated with images. Fab.
"Silence, exile and cunning." Djuna Barne's interview with Joyce, Vanity Fair, March 1922. (pdf)
"Mr. Joyce manages to give the effect of unedited human minds, drifting aimlessly along from one triviality to another, confused and diverted by memory, by sensation and by inhibition, is, in short, perhaps the most faithful X-ray ever taken of the ordinary human consciousness." Edmund Wilson's July 5, 1922 review of Ulysses for TNR. "Mr. Joyce has told the whole truth."
"...for all its renown and notoriety, it is a book that few have read and even fewer comprehend. To rectify this, BBC News Online presents an irreverent simple chapter-by-chapter guide to the key events, characters and Homeric parallels." A cheat's guide to Ulysses.
James Joyce reading "Anna Livia Plurabelle" from Finnegans Wake in 1929. Plus, Sylvia Beach tells the story of how the the recording was made.
Terence Killeen on the difficult-to-navigate and not especially well scanned, treasure trove of James Joyce manuscripts placed online by the National Library of Ireland last month. It's great, great news in any case. I started here and just dove in. Amazing.
"Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past." I'm quite sure Joyce was not anticipating this. All of Ulysses converted to 2D Barcodes. Via Penguin Books Australia.
Sometimes, there is crying in baseball, by Elliott Harris.
"...here's the upsetting punch line: intelligence seems to make things worse." Interesting read of the day, all about how more fancy book learnin' often results in higher susceptibility to cognitive bias. Or in other words: "Why Smart People Are Stupid."
"I was very flattered when Joyce dropped the 'Mister.' Everybody was 'Mister.' There were no Christian names, no first names. The nearest you would get to friendly name was to drop the 'Mister.' I was never 'Sam.' I was always 'Beckett' at the best. We'd drink in any old pub or cafe." This Recording in which Samuel Beckett didn't intend to be a writer
Buzz on getting final cut. Amen to that.
"When the interview was over, one of the girl's cousins said to him, gently, 'I'm sorry about what's happening to your newspaper.'" An interesting/difficult read about the recent gutting of the Times-Picayune.
"We would especially like to thank some of our key corporate partners who continue tossing us their spare change, not because they care about the arts, but because somebody there feels bad for us and the life choices we made." An Honest Theatrical Playbill, by Daniel Falk.
Local note. Shakespeare in the Parks this summer.
"It appears now that Kurniawan may have sold millions of dollars' worth of counterfeit wines and scammed some of the world's biggest collectors. It is potentially the largest case of wine fraud in history and may have left the market for rare and old wines irredeemably corrupted." Today's long read, A Vintage Crime.
Bacon ipsum dolor sit amet frankfurter andouille shank drumstick ham chicken. Ham ground round tri-tip kielbasa beef jerky.
The history of a Soviet relic in Budapest, from the birth of the legend that spawned it, to the post-Communism tear down: "Captain Ostapenko's Statue."
Relink. "The official swatch of desert tan is housed in Franconia, Va., just outside Washington's beltway, in a warehouse filled with the rest of the federal government's certified color chips."
Americhrome, by Graham T. Beck for The Morning News. fab.
Skywords! My Article for an In-Flight Magazine.
"I do not complain of her coming late and going early; on the contrary, I wish she had come later and gone earlier." GBS had a bad night at the opera.
Long read for the day: The Verge's "Scamworld," about the people behind internet marketing schemes.
"People who know the rules know what is possible and what is impossible. You do not and you should not. The rules of what is possible and impossible were made by people who have not tested the bounds of possible by going beyond them - and you can." Neil Gaiman's graduation speech to the University of Arts class of 2012.
"...you don't notice the learning because you're too busy playing." Two Universes and what they can teach each other, by Michael Lopp.
Tangentially related to the last, that's Laura, beautifully reciting Gerard Manley Hopkins' Spring and Fall, for our Verse by Voice project.
"Here, the cover is a protector of the signatures and the binding. It allows the books to fly in and out of the stacks a thousand times, and still be usable. In the digital world, our books are protected by ubiquity. They are everywhere and nowhere." From Hack the Cover, by Craig Mod. Aces.
"In an airy studio on a high floor of the London College of Fashion, featuring a long conference table, white walls, and a view to an adjoining patio - where, a sign warns, bees are being kept - the hues you will see in two years are being divined by a pan-European group of colorists." Sneaking Into Pantone HQ. Via MeFi.
How to pronounce...
Paul Ford's seminal essay about internet intellectualism is getting a new round of well-deserved attention recently. Do yourself a favor and read (or re-read) Why Wasn't I Consulted?! Via Jim Ray.
Zulkey's interview with Gene Honda, announcer for the Blackhawks and the White Sox.
"This is my personal site. There are many like it, but this one is mine." —Z. Right on.
I'd often heard the story that William Faulkner wanted to publish The Sound and the Fury using colored inks to signify the time of various sections of Benjy's narrative. Well, what do you know? The Folio Society has done it. Wow.
A fun read/watch: Aaron Sorkin's commencement speech at Syracuse last Friday.
Relink for Coop. The funniest thing a parent will ever read. "Sit just as I have told you, and do not lean to one side or the other, nor slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed me; for if you sit like that, your hair will go into the syrup. And now behold, even as I have said, it has come to pass." Ian Frazier's Laws Concerning Food and Drink.
Statement from McSweeney's Chairman Regarding Recent Losses, by Ben Greenman.
"Don't use an exclamation mark in a moment of anger. If you insert one in a fit of temper, lay aside the letter until morning. You will be surprised how silly it will seem then -- not only the exclamation mark but the whole letter." —James Thurber.
By taking a closer look at Shakespeare's words – specifically his insults – we see why he is known as a master playwright whose works transcend time and appeal to audiences all over the world.
"During the Games an aircraft carrier will dock on the Thames. Surface-to-air missile systems will scan the skies. Unmanned drones, thankfully without lethal missiles, will loiter above the gleaming stadiums and opening and closing ceremonies. RAF Typhoon Eurofighters will fly from RAF Northolt. A thousand armed US diplomatic and FBI agents and 55 dog teams will patrol an Olympic zone partitioned off from the wider city by an 11-mile, £80m, 5,000-volt electric fence." A look at the security for the 2012 London Olympics.
Dinah Fried, a RISD grad student, knows what book you should read.
"I expect the majority of my readers will be unaffected by this change. At last count, in a typical month, almost 100% of my potential readership visited zero or fewer pages on the site." Sorry, Everyone, My Personal Website Is Now Behind A Paywall, by Jeremy Blachman.
"'It's weird that Seinfeld signed in pencil though.' That was weird. Almost as weird as how the S in Seinfeld looked exactly like the S in my dad's signature." Bygone Bureau on their parents' tallest tales.
Rosecrans writes, "In January I hit the road for two weeks to ask people around America—specifically people who live in or near U.S. towns called Paris—what they think about the French. From cowboys in Idaho to vegan shop-owners in Texas, to Kentuckians who know the right way to pronounce Versailles."Part 1 of 4 is up today. Great.
Why fiction is good for you.
Fun, convoluted long read about sports betting, ESPN, IP theft, and hidden identities: "Who Is Sarah Phillips?"
Acknowledgments, by Ben Greenman.
"We believe architecture brings us closer to history the way medieval pilgrims believed relics brought them closer to Christ." Great long read/photo essay about nostalgia from Sweet Juniper: "The Fauxtopias of Detroit's Suburbs."
"If you can be bothered to read to the back of Wallpaper Magazine, I imagine you'll find the page where they list all the job openings for the position of Famous Designer: 'Need not apply unless strangely enthusiastic about crafting beautiful, terrible furniture for rich people.' The case against chairs.
"It's actually a lot of trouble, these days, to get the diaeresis to stick over the vowels." —Mary Norris for NYer.
"I will tell you this Rosalina, not as a taunt or a threat but as an evocation of joy." Werner Herzog's Note to His Cleaning Lady.
Zoe Zolbrod's love letter to the greatest city in North America. Brilliantly observed and dead-on accurate.
"While you check the weather, I find out why California dermatologists hate the one weird skin care secret discovered by a stay-at-home mom. While you read the New York Times, I rollover for more information about how to get my diabetes under control." Mike Lacher is the one who clicks banner ads.
The Paris Review's Literary Paint Chips. "Paint samples, suitable for the home, sourced from colors in literature."
"You have lots of old people and young people creating sexy new culture, but they're having to do it in the middle of a theme park." Rosecrans Baldwin, Interview Magazine.
Related to the last. Fanfare for the Comma Man. Awesome.
"Only" Love Can Break Your Heart, by Ben Yagoda.
I won't spoil it but the NYer has winner in their Eliminate a Word from the English Language contest.
It's Nice That can tell a lot about a person simply by snooping around their bookshelf.
A Short History of New Yorker Corrections, by Elon Green.
"It was satire." Mary Beard on Caligula, a new biography, by Aloys Winterling.
"I imagine getting a consensus about art among any 20 people is difficult. And I very much doubt the Bronte sisters ever agreed what the best book was in any given year." A Coalition of Dunces, John Warner and Kevin Guilfoile chat about this year's Pulitzer award for fiction, or lack thereof.
While I rather impatiently await JC to finish our office copy of FotA Rosecrans Baldwin's latest book, Paris, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down, I'll satisfy my anticipation a bit by reading this excerpt in GQ.
Related to the last and highly recommended, The University of Chicago edition of Maclean's A River Runs Through It with wood engravings by Barry Moser.
"And to think that the rare moment in history came to me when I could in actuality have written the prose masterpiece for all rejected authors- and I didn't even see that history had swung wide its doors to me." CP hero Norman Maclean called this letter to Alfred A. Knopf "one of the best things I ever wrote."
"A taxpayer with a child who qualifies as a dependent can deduct from adjusted gross income monies paid to a child care provider. If you are a lone crusader, then this deduction is not available to you--but if you have a sidekick, then consider making him or her your legal ward." Nine Tax Deductions of the Superhero Set.
"An act dwelling in the margins, an almost hidden narrative running beneath the main vehicular text." Tom Vanderbilt's great long read about the death of hoofing it: "The Crisis in American Walking."
"What makes the Renaissance different? Renaissance paintings look more realistic, good. What else? There are more decapitations, absolutely. You feel slightly attracted to the naked men and women, OK. Fewer weird-looking Jesus babies. Good, good." Advanced Amateur Art History by Chas Gillespie.
"They can play video games while we pop bonbons and watch the soaps and talk shows." Who knew former FDIC chair Sheila Bair was so funny?
"The punchline is that the woman's husband has died." FAQ: Alt Comedy.
Sure to rattle some cages: Mark Barrett makes the case that using two spaces after a period isn't the end of the world.
The Chicago Tribune has won an award for its coverage of the 2011 blizzard. We were sorta, vaguely, very distantly a part of that coverage, when Tom Skilling's TV special included our film Above the Sun.
"Don Johnson won nearly $6 million playing blackjack in one night, single-handedly decimating the monthly revenue of Atlantic City's Tropicana casino. Not long before that, he'd taken the Borgata for $5 million and Caesars for $4 million. Here's how he did it."
"The Mysterious Young Lady never utters a syllable to anyone." Dating advice from Dickens.
"They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet." Excerpts from a Cat's Diary.
"What you get in this Tumblr scene is imitators of imitators of imitators, each less skilled than the one before them." Sound of Silence, Sounds of Confusion from Things Magazine.
All she wrote. The Rooster is awarded today in the Championship Match of the 2012 Tournament of Books, The Sisters Brothers versus Open City.
The original meant "a dandy, someone so insecure in his Americanness that he felt the need to act British." Robert Lane Greene traces the derivations of the word "dude".
The 2012 Tournament of Books Final Match is set after today's The Art of Fielding versus Open City as judged (sort of) by Walter Kirn.
A look inside the home of cartoonist Chris Ware.
"My predispositions: I rarely care for westerns, especially not sad ones. I quite like a smutty book, especially a funny one."
The ToB version of the Final Four starts today with the first Zombie Round Match, The Sisters Brothers versus Lightning Rods as judged by E. Lockhart. Do yourself a favor and read the commentary and comment threads from the last few matches as this year's tourney heads to its epic conclusion.
Final Semifinal in the ToB today. The Sisters Brothers versus Open City. Zombie Round next.
"It all ended a few days ago, when I withdrew $120 from an ATM in the bodega on my corner. Two months of living cashlessly came to a close with that simple act." —Seth Stevenson.
"You have a man in your employ that I have thought for a long time should be fired." Sherwood Anderson's heart was not in his work.
"Here's my brain: nifty, right?" The Semifinals begin today in the ToB with a very unexpected match up, Lightning Rods versus 1Q84 ably judged by Michelle Orange.
"What saddens me is that Austin was making a linguistic observation, and it's basically almost true. This may be a budding linguist, and he's been kicked out of his high school for a syntactic observation." — Geoffrey K. Pullum. The observation? "Fuck is one of those fucking words you can fucking put anywhere in a fucking sentence and it still fucking makes sense."
Why Jeffrey Zeldman is letting his Google IO invitation expire.
So ends the ToB Quarterfinals. Alex Abramovich judges The Marriage Plot versus Open City. Semis and Zombie Round next week!
Sweet Juniper on the dangers and mysteries of The Rock Tumbler.
Things are heating up in the Quarterfinals of the Tournament of Books with today's bout featuring The Sisters Brothers versus Swamplandia as judged by Missy Mazzoli.
Native Tongues, a long, entertaining piece by Simon Winchester on the production of The Dictionary of Regional American English, including tales of "Word Wagons" scouring the landscape in search of local terms for things like "kissing vigorously" or "sleeping late" or "staring open-mouthed."
"So, I am currently serving a six-month sentence in the Outagamie County Jail for a non-violent offense. It's a bit of a slacker's paradise in here. The upside is that I can read all damn day long without guilt, if I please." So begins the Tournament of Books Quarterfinals, The Sense of an Ending versus Lightning Rods, judged by Roxy Reno.
"Technically, the biggest difference between what a burglar does and what I do is that the burglar wants to get in and out quickly and doesn't care if the safe ever gets used again." -Ken Doyle, Safecracker.
On this day in 1924 a great American novel was published. Luckily the author decided not to title it The High Bouncing Lover.
Agreed and you're welcome.
Today's The Art of Fielding versus Open City is the highly anticipated final match of the opening round of the ToB.
The Marriage Plot takes on Green Girl to wrap up the first week of The Tournament of Books today. John and Kevin's post-decision analysis is great and it's been noted but worth repeating, the comment threads are really excellent in this year's ToB.
Related to the last. Here we're pulling for Swamplandia! in the Tournament of Books, not because we've read it (which we will) but because numerous people have written to say that a certain brand of memo books may or may not play a small role in Karen Russell's celebrated novel. Thanks for that.
Today's ToB imbroglio, Swamplandia vs. The Cat's Table as judged by Haven Kimmel.
"Mandatory group yoga exercise across from my former workplace, Reel Life Video Store, on Eighth Avenue, every afternoon at two o'clock, to a chant of my new nickname, 'Dear Condo Leader.' The purpose of this will be to prove, once and for all, that I did not deserve to be fired in May 2004 for 'having an attitude' and 'stealing from the adult section.'"
First round ToB action continues with The Stranger's Child versus The Tiger's Wife, judged by Bethanne Kelly Patrick.
A simple, very smart publishing idea from Fallon London. "Dog Ear is a magazine.
But it's also a bookmark. It's completely free, and you'll find it lurking in libraries and London's independent bookshops."
"Go to the top of the tallest hill from which you can't quite see the ocean. Wait four centuries then for paving equipment and cedar tree. Sorry about the eighties, those neighbors are gone. Dress warm." Directions to Our House, By Andrew Nicholls.
The other March Madness continues with 1Q84 versus The Last Brother at the Tournament of Books.
For BB: The Better Bacon Book for iPad.
What's with will have had gone?
Opening Day of the 2012 ToB! The Sense of an Ending vs. The Devil All the Time, judged by Emma Straub.
"Thus Odysseus commanded his brave compatriot, Bob Faliveno, to bind him fast and also put on the Bangles CD as they passed the Frontage Road exit..." The Commuter's Odyssey, by Paul Houseman.
"Of course the only collective brain that matters this month belongs to the judges." The 2012 Tournament of Books Pre-Game Primer.
The Great Discontent has a nice long chat with our favorite Miss who is Swiss, Tina Roth Eisenberg.
Issue 6 of The Ride Journal just arrived in the post. I'm stating without qualification that it is the very best and most beautiful issue of the very best and most beautiful bicycle magazine on the planet, and that you should go right to the site and order your copy today. Plus, it smells great and comes with a Field Notes ad near the back. Congrats to Andrew and Philip Diprose.
Northamptonshire sofa firm's slogan branded offensive. Ha. Via TMN.
"In the world of cats, there is no dog park. For cat owners, the dog park is the Internet." For DW: Perry Stein's "Why Do Cats Run the Internet? A Scientific Explanation" from The New Republic.
Just the News.
Zulkey interviews Jerry Minor, or "that guy who is in everything" comedy-related, from Arrested Development to Community.
A discussion of the English language's longest word: floccinaucinihilipilification.
Zulkey gets political by explaining why Rick Santorum lost Michigan last night and what the Filet-O-Fish has to do with it.
"It is important to remember that even though you will not be joining us at Vassar next fall and that other students will be doing exactly that, which is to say, attending Vassar, you still have many, many options at your disposal." An Apology From Vassar, by Jason Roeder.
Good to keep bookmarked, just in case: The Ethics of Zombie Killing.
Zulkey retells my experiences with stumbling across unfortunate deaths while living in Chicago: "Inadvertently Mocking the Dead."
"At the end of the street is the reassuring sight of a nightwatchman, now able to see and protect the respectable citizens. They were the great beneficiaries of the great illumination; the victims were those to whom the streets had belonged when darkness ruled - students, the young in general, servants, vagrants, prostitutes and drinkers." The Reinvention of the Night, Tim Blanning reviews Craig Koslofsky's Evening's Empire. Via Kurt Loder.
Writer Stephen Marche takes a look back at Canadian history and the War of 1812: "That Time We Beat the Americans." Also an interesting read: the Globe and Mail's "The War of 1812: Stupid, But Important."
Speaking of great designers' children's books, any budding infant designer will love Sparkle and Spin by Ann (not Ayn!) and Paul Rand.
In 1962, Saul Bass collaborated with former librarian Leonore Klein on his only children's book, which spent decades as a prized out-of-print collector's item. This month, exactly half a century later, Rizzoli is reprinting Henri's Walk to Paris.
Ira Glass on storytelling.
"But even if you're following the law, you can do things where people get queasy." Target Knows You're Pregnant. Original research and article from the NYT Mag by Charles Dihigg, How Companies Learn Your Secrets.
"She stands on the unpaved road with your newborn son on her breast. Even though she can't hear you over the sound of the helicopter, you're screaming the words. Six months and you'll send for her. You promise." Lots of Ways to Say I Love You, by Paul Ford. Via Maria Popova.
Related to the last: Neil Harris' book, The Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age, is a must-have for anyone living here.
A Broken Heart, Girl, Ain't a Thing You Collect. KG's helpful compendium of inappropriate Valentine's gifts.
"Estimated percentage of profiles containing the description fun-loving: 80." Dater's Index, by Emily McDowell.
Very funny story from FotA Darci Ratliff: "That Porno I Made (And Watched With My Mom)." BB, you'll enjoy the Joe Estevez references.
"So, you aren't currently doing any experiments?' I ask him. 'I'm banned.' he says. 'By whom?' I ask.
'My landlord,' he says. 'And the Swedish Radiation Authority."
"You'd die in seconds without a spacesuit. As you would die anywhere else in the known universe, except for on Earth." Everything Oliver Miller knows about Jupiter.
"...we must now regret to inform you of a future time-related mix-up, taking place earlier next Thursday shortly before what preceded it." An Important Message From the U.S. Bureau of Chronology, by Dan Guterman.
"If someone comes in and asks for a recommendation and you ask for the name of a book that they liked and they can't think of one, the person is not really a reader. Recommend Nicholas Sparks." 25 things I learned from opening a bookstore.
"In other words to be fully awake to everything about you & the more you learn the more you can appreciate & get a full measure of joy & happiness out of life. I do not think a young fellow should be too serious, he should be full of the Dickens some times to create a balance." A letter to 16 year-old Jackson Pollack from his pretty spectacular Dad.
Draft of the public service announcement for the Fair Housing Alliance.
"My whole body is apparently rotting from want of proper nourishment--frost-bitten fingertips, festerings, mucous membrane of nose gone, saliva glands of mouth refusing duty, skin coming off the whole body." The Most Terrible Polar Exploration Ever.
CMoS. Capitalization, Titles. So you know.
Abrevs are like totes adorbs.
Two interesting, little known facts of history learned from this story. First, that the designer of the US Capitol building wanted to try and reanimate George Washington. Second, that our first President's last words included "die hard."
Hey tweeters, looking for the most
appropriate apt word, only shorter? Try David Friedman's Thsrs.
Steampunk, with real steam.
"It's gotta be a topless bar!" he cried. "This is the greatest f------ headline of my career!" The true, if sometimes conflicting, stories behind the most famous tabloid wood in American history.
What Your Favorite Blog Says About You, by Nick Douglas.
"This sounds friendly at first, sure. But the curt punctuation confirms that the sender is actually pretty pissed off about GOD KNOWS WHAT." Jessica Keefe's debilitating anxiety decodes her unread work emails.
"9. If all else fails, I drink half a bottle of rum and play a Handel oratorio on the gramophone. This generally produces an uncontrollable gush of copy." I Am a Lousy Copywriter by David Ogilvy. Via Jason Fried.
"You will draw unemployment for five months and spend it primarily on expensive Argentinian wine and drugs. Your spouse will leave you, but not for anyone else in particular." Jay McInerney Celebrates Chinese New Year and Reads Your Zodiac Sign at The Bygone Bureau. Illustrated by Hallie Bateman.
I'm a Bear, etc.
"Some in the kingdom thought the cause of the darkness must be the Router. Little was known of the Router, legend told it had been installed behind the recliner long ago by a shadowy organization known as Comcast. Others in the kingdom believed it was brought by a distant cousin many feasts ago." (Relink, because it is awesome).
Zulkey's interview with Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which was later adapted into the popular musical.
"Lo, in the twilight days of the second year of the second decade of the third millennium did a great darkness descend over the wireless internet connectivity of the people of 276 Ferndale Street in the North-Central lands of Iowa." By conquering hero Mike Lacher.
This year's Edgar Award nominees.
William Safire's Rules for Writers.
"Mono-Buttocked Buggernaut. Vinegar-Hearted Love Punishment. Jam-Queen." Simon Spurrier shills his book A Serpent Uncoiled with delightful rudeness. Via Warren Ellis.
A Day's Worth of Facts to Get You Through Wikipedia's 24-Hour Blackout. A public service from Mr. Greenman.
Since we are talking about books, do yourself a favor and pick up FotA Charlie Newton's second book, Start Shooting. Highly recommended as was his first, Calumet City. Once you start either book, cancel all your plans until you are finished, you'll thank me for that.
Jeff O'Neal's commentary and handicapping for the 2012 Tournament of Books.
Ben Kay's dissects descriptions of food that have absolutely no real meaning at all.
"For those Second Lifers in my address book, you may be saddened to learn that my avatar, Molesto the Scrote' With Wheels, has been reimagined as a slacks-wearing, ideal job candidate, but-FEAR NOT!--my SL Marketplace shop will continue to sell the highest-quality virtual sex-bicycles in the Blacksilk district." Job-friendly updates to my online profiles.
Related to the last, Jon Horvath used GPS and excerpts from Jack Kerouac's On the Road to create these line drawings.
A series of both interesting and tragic stories are told through these fragments of a family photo album, made in Russia between the early 1900s and the 1940s. "The Fate of a Man."
David Sedaris reads his fabulous Santaland Diaries.
Forgotten Bookmarks the book.
"I respect the raptors, aloof and freewheeling killers that they are. I could not let this one die. Not because I'm a good person (obviously). But because it was awesome." Sweet Juniper's "...And a Red-Tailed Hawk in Our Christmas Tree." Best holiday story you'll read all day. Great from start to finish.
Near the end of the 1800s, it was all the rage to indicate your feelings toward a potential suitor or close friend by the angle of a stamp on a letter (e.g. placing it upside down on the bottom left-hand corner meant "I am always true to you."). The Language of Stamps. Turns out I've been unintentionally saying "I love you" on all the bills I've paid over the years.
A visual way to explore the Brain Pickings book archive.
Zulkey's interview with Julia Sweeney.
An Open Letter to Writers of Open Letters, by Teddy Wayne.
On Arthur C. Clarke's birthday, a 31 word story.
If you're still on the fence about buying a Kindle, meet Harry Disco.
"It worked like this: everyone involved sent me their postal address, while I headed down to the local Post Office and bought a job lot of stamps." Twitter by Post, by Giles Turnbull.
"We've faced many challenges over the years, and each and every time we've discovered that courage is the answer. Hyenas don't understand that." When Animals Run Attack Ads, by Ben Greenman.
"So, motherfuckers, sweet sweet angels of imperfection, on this Sunday, a day I am grieving for a man I never met, I am also singing you a love song, an out of key melody with rusty rhythm, mud in the middle, and dirty words at the end." You're Not Awesome, by Melissa Pierce. Amen.
The Books They Gave Me.
"She's my everything went wrong." Swiss Life, Jimmy Webb, Glenn Campbell and Language Log. Life's Twists and Turns, a great blog post.
Quickly becoming a favorite. David Hill's Fading the Vig at McSweeney's, in which each column tells the story of a single bet.
The most hated buzzwords.
My brother-in-law, John Christopher Jones, translated Chekov's "The Cherry Orchard" for a new production that just opened starring John Turturro and Diane Wiest. The Times published a rave today and here's an illuminating interview about how the translation came about.
Jeff O'Neal prognosticates on what books will be in the field for the 2012 Tournament of Books.
Texts from Bennett.
The pest who shames companies into fixing security flaws.
"The guilt-tinged thrill of reading private letters to other people was dampened by the note's banality. 'Dear Douglas, I have a favor to ask...' There was nothing illicit or secret, nothing mystical or magical about it. Except that it was addressed to a dead man." Address Unknown, by Leah Anderst for TMN. Stopped me cold in the middle of a busy day. A must-read.
A look at Google's doodles.
"When a place has been around long enough, you stop measuring in minutes." A lovely short piece by Dave Pell, The Return of Amigo.
"What appears to be an ordinary period is in fact a TwitDot, and it contains a message that could never, as a result of its length, have fit within the confines of a single tweet." Size Matters, from inventor Ben Greenman.
"A Qantas Empire Airways safety card, drawn in the wink-and-grin style of a men's magazine cartoon, depicts a sporting fellow leaning over the side of a lifeboat, flirting with a long, lean, blonde mermaid, much to the annoyance of his wife." The Unlikely Event, by Avi Steinberg. Via Maud Newton.
A redesigned It's Nice That No.7 is out and, as usual, it's full of smart features and contributors like Terry Jones of i-D and Benjamin Sommerhalder of Nieves.
Happy thoughts for the holiday from The Fly. Prepare For the Dark Ages.
Lovely interview with Mandy Brown at The Great Discontent.
I'm linking Flavorwire's Literary Mixtape for Seymour Glass in part because the image reminds me that JDS had many talents but none greater than his brilliance in choosing titles for his stories. Via the always observant Electric Literature.
Depressingly realistic sexual role play scenarios.
"Bureaucratically dowdy, rarely spotted in the field, a dull fucker by both instinct and training, Smiley drops no one-liners, romances no tarot-card readers, roars no speedboats through the Bayou." James Parker on George Smiley, The Anti-James Bond. Via Casual Optimist.
"The apology is for contributing to watering down the impact of certain words so that, as is currently the case in our culture, there is no longer an arsenal of expletives available to go to when you are legitimately pissed off." —Earl Pomerantz.
Errol Morris Interviews Stephen King about his new book 11/22/63. Long, fascinating exchange of ideas.
Out where the west begins.
Big Week, from your internet pal, Dan Benjamin.
"I apologize for the delay; we are currently experiencing significant existential strife as indicated by the soft wailing of the train's wheels as they are forced once more into another day of mindless repetition."
"I'm convinced the estate wants Vonnegut to remain caught, like a bug in amber, to borrow the phrase from Slaughterhouse-Five— forever a jokey, avuncular counterculture guru. That image was, and continues to be, a moneymaker." Charles Shields chats about his new KV biography And So It Goes.
"Damn baby, I don't usually send messages like this but your man be a lucky man. I'm jealous. My girlfriend is still hot though." It Happened to Sophia Kercher.
"...how six months can become eight years with the deceptive ease of a film dissolve, for that is how those years appear to me now, in a long sequence of sentimental dissolves and old-fashioned trick shots—the Seagram Building fountains dissolve into snowflakes, I enter a revolving door at twenty and come out a good deal older, and on a different street." —the incomparable Joan Didion. Via Sippey.
So great, Yelping With Cormac.
Filed under "Helpful Tips." The Saddest Story I Know, by Alex Balk.
"...impressed by an occasional striking passage, which, lacking the quotation marks, he is not sure whether to attribute to himself or to someone far cleverer, funnier and more articulate, whom he happened to be reading at the time." Charles Simic suggets you take care of your little notebook.
From 1953, animated short of Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart.
$50 Under 11.5 Rounds Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Victor Ortiz. Fading the Vig: A Gambler's Guide to Life by David Hill. "Each column will tell the story of a single bet that he made and examine what that bet reveals about life in America."
Wired's guide to Pop Culture's Buried Treasure.
An animated self-published author wearing Groucho Marx nose glasses undermines a more legit writer in the funny-because-it's-true video, I Self-Published Myself and You're Jealous.
Related to below, if you'd like to act out the scene yourself.
Richard Burton's Henry V St. Crispin's Day speech.
"Once you begin imagining yourself as the romantic lead of a novel—and convince others of it as well—you won't want to stop." Sex Lives of the Saints, by Snowden Wright.
Shakespeare Insult Kit.
Fiend Folio gets the shaft, but Wired.com's solid list of 9 books geeks should have read by now does include Dungeon Masters Guide, so we're good.
The Barber Comes Around.
"In response to the e-mail we all received from Maddie's parents, in which they shared their decision to raise their daughter dogma-free, yes, there will be an altar, but please be assured that the Day of the Dead is a pagan celebration of life and has nothing to do with God."
David Hudson on the new collection of Pauline Kael film essays, and reactions to it.
Local note: head on over to Just the Bookstore in Glen Ellyn tonight and chat with FoTA authors Kevin Guilfoile and John Warner. P.S. There will be beer. Our kind of book signing!
"There's nothing more satisfying than finding a letter." Shaun Usher on his unstoppable Letters of Note. BTW, LoN is a member of our advertising network for web, design and creative professionals, The Deck.
An amazingly extensive database of Common Errors in English Usage.
"Yossarian Lives." A nice piece by Lynn Neary for Morning Edition today, on the occasion of Catch-22 turning 50.
Zulkey's "Yet Another Unnecessarily Long Monologue By a Supervillain as He Prepares to Kill His Nemesis."
A double shot of Vonnegut. Portraits found on the fabulous Hey Oscar Wilde! It's Clobberin' Time, a site where various artists interpret their favorite literary figures. It's well worth a nice long browse. Back to Mr. Vonnegut, here's the audio of his first public reading of the classic Breakfast of Champions, three years before it was published, on May 4, 1970 at the 92nd Street Y in NYC. We're with Merlin Mann when he says, "Listen to the whole thing. It's poetry."
Two bloggers on a quest to make pigeon pie, honey spiced locusts and other dishes mentioned in George R.R. Martin's The Song of Ice and Fire series score a cookbook deal.
The latest edition in a series tying philosophy concepts to pop culture: Arrested Development and Philosophy: They've Made a Huge Mistake. More info here.
Sweet and smutty insights from the love letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz.
Language geek alert. The King's English. "through the King James Bible, phrase by phrase."
"No human before or since Bill Rankin is known to have parachuted through a cumulonimbus tower and lived to tell about it. Lt Col William Henry Rankin passed away on 06 July 2009, almost exactly 50 years after his harrowing and history-making ride on the storm. Cue epic organ solo."Rider on the Storm. Via Mental Floss.
You can take the Nobel Prize-winning author out of Oak Park, but you can't take the Oak Park accent out of the Nobel Prize-winning author.
Chunky in Fury by Mike Monteiro. A really great start to a new set of Candygrams by Jason Santa Maria. Beautifully crafted words, perfectly presented.
Share your creative failures over at My Unfinished Novels.
Universe Dented, Grass Underfoot, by John Gruber.
Philip B. Corbett on typos, The Reader's Lament.
Coordinate accusatives corresponding to non-coordinate nominatives, or to put it another way, Me and John versus John and Me.
"This disclaimer is not unlike the ceaseless blaring of a distant car alarm—a once-sincere warning that has evolved into an unpleasant nuisance, rendered meaningless by its own ubiquity." Alright, Fine, I'll Add a Disclaimer to My Emails, by James Sinclair.
Headline of the day.
Local note for NY: Tomorrow night our esteemed guest editor John Sellers will read from his memoir The Old Man and the Swamp at WORD in Brooklyn. Also, Wednesday evening he'll be chatting with Chuck Klosterman about his new novel The Visible Man.
When the actor Timothy Hutton speaks, people listen - it's just that he doesn't listen to them, as this new book trailer definitively proves.
Zulkey's interview today with Tom Skilling proves two things most people already knew: a) the guy really, really likes talking about the weather, and b) he's the nicest human on the planet.
"Afflicted by Vapors When Seeing You on Horseback". Masterpiece Theater's Missed Connections.
In 1996, Paul Lukas and some friends found 375 report cards from the Manhattan Trade School for Girls. He decided to do some investigating and the result is a fascinating series of articles for Slate, Permanent Record.
Required reading for comedy buffs: "And... Scene," an oral history of Upright Citizens Brigade.
So you know: the Top 10 Misused English Words.
"From a linguistic point of view, this misunderstanding points to a problem that vanity plates share with most orthographic systems. A reader must decide how to group the sequence of symbols, and how to interpret the result." How do you read ILVTOFU?
The most important story of Michael Miner's life, and the column that was never written. An amazing story, beautifully told.
Happy birthday to Bilbo and Frodo.
"Reluctant to admit we'd wasted our hard-earned vacations on a stupid, money-losing, cross-country ordeal that wasn't going to accomplish a damn thing, the four of us turned on one another like rabid weasels — or, I should say, my bandmates turned on me." Jim DeRogatis is a Field Tester. Read tons more reviews online, or better yet, buy the book.
The Top 5 Things That Bother Me About This Headline, by the almighty Alissa Walker. Amen to that.
"Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo." Via Atencioblog.
Merci de nous avoir liberes! Scans from a Belgian phrasebook published near the end of WWII.
The concept of Doubling in the Middle, and other things pallindromic, from a master. By Gregory Kornbluth. Wow, we've sure come a long way from Panama.
"With Harrison it is impossible to feel something so simple as friendship. He seems to me the closest thing we have to a tribal elder. If writers ever required permission to raid another tribe and steal its corn, we would need to ask Harrison." The Last Lion, an excellent profile of CP hero, novelist Jim Harrison, by Tom Bissell.
An amazing excerpt from The Funny Man, John Warner's new novel.
Will have to find a linguist to get a definite answer, but in the interim this will have to do, based on a long discussion from over the weekend: the origins of inverted question and exclamation marks. A bit more on this, here and here.
Andy Borowitz hears bells.
"You schmucks who use ridiculous journo-terms make me crazy!" Nice opening sentence Choire.
The David Sedaris app: David's Diary.
When Marge Simpson and Barbara Bush exchanged letters.
Compelling visual argument in favor of the Oxford Comma.
"In so much of life, I cannot relax. A part of me is assessing whether or not my contribution's needed. Another part of me is worried that my kids are annoying someone. But not at sporting events. Am I needed? Not at all. Are my kids annoying? Hardly!" Lost and Found, by my sis, at The Baseball Chronicle.
So you know: blogs from the U.S. Government.
A great read by Conan writer Todd Levin on the various hurdles of writing comedy.
Today's long read: "The Shame of College Sports."
On getting our "heart-shaped asses kicked by less beautiful girls from backwards foreign lands." A Message From Lovey Johns-Atchison The Acting President of the Trump Place Condo Association, by Kevin Guilfoile.
Incredibly juvenile, but so great: the Guardian's pick for best/worst typo in a romance novel.
"You Look at Me Like You've Never Seen a Neo-Hipster Before."
From John Warner: My Biggest Fan.
"If you come here and say, 'I need to dangle a 10,000-pound whale from the ceiling of my uncle's bathroom,' they tell you how to make it happen." An interesting profile of Compleat Sculptor, where NY artists shop for stone.
Live right now! Back to School With the Biblioracle.
Not entirely sure how I feel about this, but slightly eager to try it: Booktrack: Soundtracks for Books.
"Even now, I can't think of her without remembering the Good Conductor on that late-night train to Peterborough and, to this day, I won't hear a bad word said about British Rail." A Real Good Samaritan. Via MeFi.
Still related to the last. Jeff Tweedy performed the Black Eyed Peas at the book party last night too. Hilarious good time.
"David Shepherd, Paul Sills, Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Del Close and Charna Halpern, Studs Terkel and Lenny Bruce: Meet Dan Sinker. He's one of yours, and one of ours." Bill Savage's rave review of Dan's The Fucking Epic Twitter Quest of @MayorEmanuel.
KG's second novel, a thriller with a sense of humor and some great Chicago set pieces, The Thousand, is now available pretty much everywhere in paperback and for the Kindle too. Plus it has great new cover art. Watch our Twitter feed for a chance to win a signed copy.
Video of Kurt Vonnegut lecturing on the "shapes of stories." Four stars. Via Shaun Usher.
"We're bending the entire spectrum of light --infrared, ultraviolet, thermal, people are disappearing. It doesn't use cameras or mirrors or require power." Invisible, Inc, by Bruce Barcott. Via Mefi.
Totally random and not to be a smug city-dweller about things, but if this book was written today, it would have a question mark and be funny. Though the cover would stay the same because it's awesome. Via Letterology.
"The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and Laugh-In. These two comedy-variety shows, we are often told, appealed to the same acid-tripping, free-love, anti-war demographic. Today they are often considered two sides of the same coin. Nothing could be further from the truth." The Comedy Writer That Helped Elect Richard M. Nixon, great, long piece by Kliph Nesteroff.
So you know: Errol Morris' book Believing is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography comes out this week. An excerpt available here.
Zulkey really stirred up the pot and got some people mighty miffed by ranting against FiveFingers shoes (those types of barefoot-looking footwear, also known as "the worst thing in the world").
Goodbye, cruel Word.
Zulkey interviews Scott Aukerman, comedian, writer and performer on Mr. Show, and co-creator of Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis.
Sometimes true crime is just too strange, particularly when it involves an art gallery, hired martial arts goons, and the lead artist of a beloved cartoon franchise: "SpongeBob Artist Accused of 'Brutal' Attack."
Switch on the blue truth filter.
"Buzzwords are frequently used in news media. These are words that do not typically occur in everyday speech, but are common among newscasters, talking heads, and pundits on cable news. Newswordy is a growing collection of these words, updated every weekday. Along with each word is a definition, a quote with its use (or misuse) in the media, and a news and Twitter feed on the subject."
Mapping the Republic of Letters.
"...just some whiny annoying teenager talking about how lame he is." Great Books That Aren't Great, edited by Juliet Lapidos for Slate.
NPR listeners pick their top Top 100 Science Fiction, Fantasy books.
Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird and she also wrote this fellow back when he told her how much it meant to him. Via Shaun Usher, of course.
Text Slang for Baby Boomers, by William Sorensen.
"I can remember nights at the dinner table with my parents tossing out different numbers. 'Catch-27?' Nah, my father shook his head. 'Catch-539?' Too long, too lumbering. I had no idea what they were talking about." Erica Heller, in the Paris Review.
On Monday morning, August 21 1911, inside the Louvre museum in Paris, a plumber named Sauvet came upon an unidentified man stuck in front of a locked door. The man - wearing a white smock, like all the Louvre's maintenance staff - pointed out to Sauvet that the doorknob was missing. The helpful Sauvet opened the door with his key and some pliers. The man walked out of the museum and into the Parisian heatwave. Hidden under his smock was Leonardo da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa'.
Cold War Disneyland.
The Skywalkers of Hazzard.
Even if you don't speak Dutch, they're still fun to look at: downloadable issues of De Stijl, from 1917 to 1920.
For DW, Cats in Space.
Having gone through that very same English department a few years ahead of him, I'd have to agree with Mr. Eggers. Master educators indeed.
How 50 Big Companies Got Their Names. For example: "Sprint" is short for "Southern Pacific Railroad Internal Communications."
"I guess he noticed the familiar pupil dilation and telltale thumb calluses of a reformed junkie..." The Indoor Kids' audio chat with Todd Levin about his great series for TMN, Consoles I Have Known.
Finally. Ben lets us in on The Answers to All of Life's Questions.
"My boss said, 'You have to get rid of this cat because it was polluted by radiation. You must dump it in the sea.' However, I can't do it for the following reasons. First of all, this cat alive, second, if I dump it in the sea, the sea will be polluted by the cat." Pony and "A" Take Over the World.
"A tiny group of savvy bettors, among them highly trained computer scientists from MIT and Northeastern University, virtually take over the game." Great story about gaming the Massachusetts lottery. Via J-Walk.
Related to the last. The Chronicles of Amber are all good but it's The Corwin Cycle that is perfect. BTW: Harry fans might find something new to love here.
Smart guy. Rainn Wilson shows us the covers of his ten favorite sci-fi and fantasy paperbacks and includes the totally underappreciated Amber Series from Roger Zelazny.
"Children who are scared of clowns will be taken from their parents and treated to special one-on-one Laff Sessions with one of our clowns in a Clown Consortium Kiosk. These sessions will last as long as it take--days, even--to ensure that the children are no longer scared of clowns!" The Birthday Clown Consortium Price Guide.
"Longtime Angeleno Mark Evanier further surmised that Dino's Lodge outlasted Jerry's because 'Dean Martin's name suggested a classy evening of good Italian food and wine, whereas Jerry's implied an evening of food being thrown at you by loud waiters.'" The Rise and Fall of Dino's Lodge, by Kliph Nesteroff.
My Unfinished Novels.
"I noticed that you were about to finish your drink and I was wondering if I could possibly watch you purchase another one." A Post Gender Normative Man Tries to Pick Up a Woman at a Bar, by Jesse Eisenberg.
You could look it up.
"The creative gift is a scarce commodity, and patience and imitation have always done most of its work." Raymond Chandler on Writers in Hollywood, from the Atlantic in 1945. A bit more on this most entertaining and insightful essay from Maud Newton.
"There is a scooter in our office. People ride around on it and nobody cares. There's also rollerblades and a putting green. For a while we thought we had some pogo sticks, but they turned out to be a set of polio crutches belonging to a client. We bent them up pretty bad." I'm a Social Media Rockstar.
"As I stood among the ransacked ruin that had been my home, surveying the aftermath of the senseless horrors and atrocities that had been perpetrated on my family and everything I hold dear, I swore to myself that no matter where I had to go, no matter what I had to do or endure, I would find the man who did this... and when I did, when I did, oh, there would be words." Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest Winners.
"Hey, intellectuals! My fellow weenies! Our culture totally, world-historically, down-to-the-sub-atomic-level sucks -- even our low culture sucks now, despite all our self-important ingenious attempts to elevate it or make it seem more complicated or subversive or internally self-critiquing or whatever than it really is; I mean Harry Potter, come on, it wasn't just the biggest children's movie ever, it was the biggest everyone-including-adults-including-ones-who-went-to-"good"-colleges adults movie ever -- and it's all our fucking fault!" Good morning from Walter Kirn.
Writer Liesl Schillinger finally takes a brave stand for those quiet few of us who feel the same: "I Can't Take It Any S'more! America's Most Abominable Dessert."
There was a young lady
Who liked to head east for
When Westfield arrives
She'll buy some new knives
And finally improve
"He counted nuts. He counted seeds. He counted miles traveled, and compared them with the sometimes inaccurate distances marked on maps." George Washington: He Liked to Count Things.
50 "Americanisms" that irritate the British.
Heller on Steinweiss.
"The tide brings in status updates; the tide takes them out." Brilliantly written think-piece by Paul Ford for NY Mag on media and society (God, that makes it sound boring, it's anything but.) Facebook and the Epiphanator.
"Due to an errant cron task that ran twice an hour from September 2010 to July 2011, I accidentally collected about 12,000 screenshots of the front page of the nytimes.com." Via Doobybrain.
"If Vonnegut speaks to the eternal adolescent mind, it's because he so ably inhabits its favorite moods: hellacious pessimism and utopian love. How he balances the two—if he balances them, really—is an open question, and part of the wonder." Jacob Rubin for NY Mag on Kurt Vonnegut: Novels & Stories, 1963-1973.
"Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten..."
For £320,000, author JG Ballard's suburban home can be yours.
Funny book promo for Tom Lennon and Ben Garant's Writing Movies For Fun and Profit.
So you know, a primer on British Media.
Zulkey interviews writer/author Aimee Bender.
The greatest Space Shuttle story ever told, Penn and Teller's "NASA'S Successful Quanitfying of Comedy Timing."
So you know, a Brief History of the Evolution of Recorded Music.
Great BBC interview with author Henning Mankell.
Related to the last, Connors on Maclean for The Nation.
I read and totally loved Philip Connor's Fire Season over the weekend. In fact, I was so taken with it I have started re-reading Norman Maclean's Young Men and Fire. Maud Newton chatted with Connors in April for The Paris Review.
"They were the only thing left to bless in this forsaken place, he thought..." Toto's Africa by Ernest Hemingway, by Anthony Sams.
American McCarver, a great new highly opinionated sports blog from Gruber, Monteiro, Snell, Sippey, Michaels, Knauss, Anker and Catalano. Seems like they need one more to make a starting nine.
"The majority of Zeppelin lyrics are about sex or Vikings or staring at large metaphorical bodies of water when you're high..." Chuck Klosterman's second-by-second analysis of Led Zeppelin's last stand.
Open Culture highlights some rare footage of J.R.R. Tolkien speaking to the BBC in 1968.
Great news in the form of a real live scientific report: "New study shows children and adolescents who eat candy are less overweight or obese." That's terrific! But wait. What's that very last sentence say down there in the fine print? "Partial support was also received from the National Confectioners Association." Oh.
Not to start this whole thing again but I'm with the University of Oxford when it comes to the "Oxford Comma."
Coming this Fall, Star Wars: The Blueprints.
"We have spent time with some of our best people and we have come up with a few ideas. Here are the four that received the most traction in-house." Al Qaeda: The Rebrand, fab, from Ben Greenman in the NYer.
Our pal Joseph Hughes of Northcoast Zeitgeist's Weapons of Mass Creation Fest presentation.
"If your flight is delayed, keep in mind that it's probably because the pilot and crew know that the airplane is full of cracks, and they're buying time." Katie Heaney's valuable advice on How to Not Die in a Plane Crash.
Byliner is live, and looks great. Original writing, not so long as a book, not so short as a newspaper article.
Really interesting long read, How To Land Your Kid in Therapy.
William Faulkner on Ernest Hemingway: "He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." Ernest Hemingway on William Faulkner: "Poor Faulkner, Does he really think big emotions come from big words?" The 30 harshest author-on-author insults in history.
Would be difficult for anyone to ever top this lede: "K. Narayanan does not allow anyone to touch his miniature animal figurines."
Who invented email? Well, just maybe it was Noel Morris, brother of filmmaker Errol. Part one of a five part story for the NYT. Deliciously long, winding and detailed.
Need help writing your artist statement? Head on over to the Arty Bollocks Generator.
"Opening bookshop in Paris. Please send money." Jessa Crispin on Joyce, Margaret Anderson and Sylvia Beach
"Ann Guilfoile: How come there are so many characters unlike your sister in your books? Kevin Guilfoile: Are you kidding? My books are filled with liars and sociopaths." KG visits Madame Perry's Salon.
The full text of Ulysses converted into 2D barcodes.
"In 1924, 1 went to the office of His Master's Voice in Paris to ask them if they would record a reading by James Joyce from Ulysses." -Sylvia Beach.
News, events, extracts, trivia and Marilyn Monroe reading Ulysses. A Piece of Monologue.
The First Editions.
Joyce's wife Nora once asked, "I guess the man's a genius, but what a dirty mind he has, hasn't he?" She ought to know.
Happy Bloomsday, Ulysses on Twitter
6000 articles and 13 years later, McSweeney's gets a lovely facelift.
"...have you ever edited and sent the files to a printer to be reproduced several thousand times? It's terrifying. There is a pervasive hopelessness to the entire process." Post-Artifact Books and Publishing. It's by Craig Mod, so you must read it.
The synthesis of Circle A (Faulkner readers) and Circle B (NWA fans) is this T-shirt.
Dave Eggers makes a case for how great Wrigley Field is. However, fans of other Chicago-based teams (or baseball in general), will read it as validation of how horrible Wrigley Field is.
"...when you inspect the image of Hemingway-as-hero, you uncover an extraordinary sub-stratum of self-harming. You discover that, for just over half of his life, Hemingway seemed hell-bent on destroying himself." A great long read. John Walsh unravels the mystery behind Hemingway's suicide.
A look inside the ER at Mt. Everest.
Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant's upcoming book Writing Movies for
Fun and Profit. Can't wait.
"In all, 1,746 people were killed. The villages of Nyos, Kam, Cha, and Subum were left all but wiped out. And, more than 3,500 livestock perished in a matter of minutes." The killer? A lake.
Really great introduction to Bill Simmons' new sports/pop culture site, Grantland.
Ode to a Four Letter Word.
"When I get stewed I go to sleep, even in the presence of women and clergymen." An autobiography of a sort, as a list, written by HL Mencken in 1927. Fab, at Letters of Note, of course.
"Paul Revere's Ride," by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Sarah Palin (and Ben Greenman.)
"Short-sighted, technically illiterate penny-pinchers are wounding a great art form." Roger Ebert on The Dying of the Light.
"Collections tell stories. Often, they represent a personal narrative or reveal some interesting character traits of the collector." Collecting History from Eight:48, by the team at Display a fantastic resource for modern design.
"In 1993, when The New Yorker for the first time ran a photograph of a bare-breasted actress, a subscriber wrote me to express outrage at what had happened to a magazine once known for its elegant, understated prose. The only defence I could think of was that they were small breasts, so you could say that the tradition of understatement was still alive." How Calvin Trillin got dirty words into The New Yorker.
"Young adult fiction offers a promise to all of us that there is no suffering that's not worth it, no agony that goes unrewarded down the line." Alyssa Rosenberg launches a four-part series on YA fiction at The Atlantic.com.
"I listen to Johnny breathing beside me and feel a cloying terror. Not because of Johnny's capability for violence, but because he is reading the book manuscript I wrote about him." Lori Andrews is a Field Tester. Summer reading season is upon us. Plan well with the Field Tested Books Book.
With her show going off the air, the Norwegian browser company Opera is going to miss Oprah, because now they're sure to get fewer accidental letters sent to them. Here's their Best of Oprah Mails to Opera.
Your Mother wears Roman soldier shoes or How To Curse In Norse.
"I never met a sentence I didn't want to make just a bit longer—and so the dash is my embarrassing best friend." The Case—Please Hear Me Out—Against the Em Dash, by Noreen Malone.
Shark Pin & Fiction a cool collaborative "object + narrative" project from Matt Singer and Ben Greenman.
The latest issue of McSweeney's has been released. And even though our SD just contributed a very short Letter to the Editor in it, his name is still listed above both Jonathan Franzen's and Joyce Carol Oates' in the table of contents, which surely must be worth something.
"One thinks of them as something not put there by artifice but merely preserved by happenstance." Ten design lessons from Frederick Law Olmsted, by Matt at 37s.
Dwell magazine spends 30 minutes with Dieter Rams.
Today's utterly fascinating long read, The Lazarus File.
An animated short from the book The Influencing Machine: Brook Gladstone On The Media. Via The Casual Optimist .
"In France alone between 1520 and 1630 some 30,000 individuals were labeled as werewolves, many of them underwent traumatic interrogation and torture." Werewolves Cases from Medieval French Chronicles. Found by way of Jonathan Jones' essay on werewolves in Renaissance art.
"'Hi!' means I'm going to delete your email without reading it." Graham T. Beck on what your email salutation says about you.
"Shape and ring." Stanley Fish's How To Write A Sentence: And How to Read One reviewed by Simon Blackburn.
"With the Rapture coming, should I bother working on my final paper?" FAQ for my students: The Rapture.
A scan of The Playboy Club's Bunny Manual from 1968.
Do something nice today, buy a book for some kids. Cha Ching!
I'd pay good money to see this actually happen, Go Amy!!!
Ben Yagoda notices that while is the convention is for "inside," many are in favor of "outside".
"Last weekend I almost got into a car accident with a Duck Tour." Visitors versus locals. Prague versus Seattle. En Route: Tourism, by Darryl Campbell for The Bygone Bureau.
Apropos of nothing. Always Be Closing.
"The Penguin tote: You had a really enjoyable time flirting with the idea of working in the publishing industry. This tote bag is all you have to remember those times by." What Your Tote Bag Says About You, by Jason Diamond and Tobias Carroll.
Some terrific true crime reading on the train in this morning. From the NY Times on the Raj Rajaratnam conviction: "Galleon Chief's Web of Friends Proved Crucial to Scheme." Great cast of characters.
"I knew how it was supposed to go. There would be a visit from a striking bald man in a wheelchair, visiting my parents to tell them I was a gifted child who needed to attend his special school for gifted children in Westchester. My parents would acquiesce, saying it was better for me to be with people more like me, and I would go, and in Westchester I would be told I was an X-Man now." Great lede. Fanboy by Alexander Chee at TMN.
Word Portraits by John Sokol.
"Slicing open my own corpus, I've been surprised –and upset– to find that ideas I had then were very similar to the ones I have now." Paul Ford looks backwards, Time's Inverted Index.
Trailer for Hey Boo, the Mockingbird doc by Mary McDonagh Murphy.
For MJ, don't let your Mom see this article.
"Dear boys and girls..." Letters to the children of Troy, Michigan on the occasion of the opening of their new library.
"I was also shown a classified video of a child who was acting strangely after going to the dentist. And I really can't say any more than that."
This is a news website article about a scientific finding. "In the standfirst I will make a fairly obvious pun about the subject matter before posing an inane question I have no intention of really answering." By Martin Robbins.
Local note. Nice column by Kass today, Rich and Me: How We Fell Out.
So you know. Science historian Howard Markel on Karel Capek and the origin of the word 'robot.'
"Any ordinary man can buy a fancy car, but only a true playboy can demolish one with dignity." Jamie Johnson's funny piece for Vanity Fair: "In Defense of Rich People Smashing Their Nice Cars."
826 founders Eggers and Calegari speak up about education reform.
So you know, 2011 trends in logo design.
#12 The lamp just sat there, like an inanimate object. 56 terrible analogies used in high school papers.
Zulkey interviews Claudio von Planta, the documentary filmmaker and cameraman for the terrific and addictive series Long Way Round and Long Way Down.
"The Horseshoe Sandwich and The Humble Fairgoer." Just two of many Positions Found in The Kama Sutra for Midwesterners, by Pete Reynolds.
Brandon's first day at The French Laundry.
I'll take words that end in "nym" Alex.
"The JofUR solicits any and all types of manuscript: poetry, prose, visual art, and research articles. You name it, we take it, and reject it. Your manuscript may be formatted however you wish. Frankly, we don't care." The official blog.
Pretty sure every parent has wanted to or actually said this to their child and now there is a book.
Ways in which the Midwest Express In-Flight Catalog Describes Shirts That Won't Wrinkle by Jules Lipoff. Via Put This On.
"By then only 19 fans remained in frigid McCoy Stadium, along with players, coaches and staff; two reporters; one scorer; and two broadcasters..." Stefan Fatsis reviews Bottom of the 33rd by Dan Barry.
"Whitchse isn't a word, so there's nothing wrong with using whose to refer to things in addition to people." From The Copyediting Blog, whose mission is to improve our grammar.
Pruned's awesome series Impossible Chicagos is part fantasy, part dream, part nightmare, just like the city it's about. They're up to 10.
The house from H.P. Lovecraft's short story "The Shunned House" is for sale in Providence, Rhode Island. Unfortunately, judging from the listing, it looks like you'll need to provide your own flamethrower and sulfuric acid if you want to kill the monster in the basement.
"The mannequin seemed so happy, so carefree in his plaid shirt and cargo shorts, forever about to throw a frisbee. That could be me, I thought." The Dressing Room At Old Navy gets rated expertly by Joshua Allen.
The OED, the Professor and the Madman. On this date in 1928, the final volume of the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was published.
3 outta 5.
Bill Moyers' interview with David Simon about The Wire, writing, and the drug war.
For MS: info on Spoiled, the novel by the Go Fug Yourself writers. My wife's read an advanced copy and says its fantastic.
"Why do they continue to come here? They can't all have brain tumors. The only rationally conceivable answer is: Paris. Paris has superpowers; Paris exerts a mercurial force field." A.A. Gill's wonderfully terrible review of L'Ami Louis, a restaurant popular with Americans and the British.
"Sack up and revise as a bulleted list." The Washington Post Inadvertently Publishes My Online Dating Profile with the Editor's Notes Still Included, by Jack Loftus. Gold.
"I could never explain to anyone else how I stored our glorious sleep-deprived moments in a velvety pink balloon that floated in the back of my mind." The Routes by Which I Attempted to Contact You, by Sheridan Macauley.
Better Book Titles.
"It had all us writers literally crying with laughter, but the studio audience greeted it with confused silence." Zulkey interviews long-time Conan writer and performer, Brian Stack.
The folks at Mr. Porter help you figure out if your beard is too big.
"The shots of the audience's amazed reactions are mostly there to give the editor a point to cut ahead in time." Full Disclosure Regarding My Appearance on the Infomercial for the TurkeyScaler, by Curtis Retherford.
Covers and Blurbs.
Today is The Morning News Tournament of Books Championship Match, Freedom versus A Visit From the Goon Squad. Hands down, this year's tourney has been the best one ever, by the quality of the judging and commentary and by the fact that it's got me to read four new books. Congrats to... I won't spoil it for you.
Long read of the day, Rodrigo Rosenberg's Murder in Guatemala.
For BB, JC, and KG, Book and Album pairings. Sure to inspire your very own list.
Zulkey interviews Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen.
In honor of opening day, James Earl Jones narrates Casey At The Bat.
NPR interviews author Henning Mankell about his latest and last Kurt Wallander novel, The Troubled Man. Part of me wants to start the book immediately, part of me just wants to wait until I am ready to say good-bye.
Sweet Juniper makes "An Attempt to Explain Why I Smell Like George Brett's Gym Bag." Hint: it's the old timey soap.
"I know quality writing, and know a lot of other people who know quality writing. A sample chapter presented to my mother's book club was described as, and I quote, "'like nothing they had ever read before.' My high school English teacher told me that I should submit it right away, even though I only shared the first half of the first draft." Real or fake, best cover letter ever.
Few people know that the program The Wire was actually an adaptation of a serialized story from the 1840s, written by Horatio Bucklesby Ogden and illustrated by Baxter "Bubz" Black. Via J-Walk.
"He killed dozens, if not hundreds. He disposed of their corpses in an unimaginably disgusting way. He murdered his accomplice. The only bright spot in this otherwise entirely unredeemed life is that he never existed." An in-depth look at Sweeney Todd's Ancestors.
People Are Awesome. Agreed.
Semifinal #1 in The Morning News Tournament of Books today, Freedom versus A Visit From the Goon Squad.
Copywriter Kim Mok teaches you How to Write a Manifesto.
"I'm not going to read you any bedtime stories or sing you any lullabies, and if you think that every year on your birthday I'm going to tell you where I was when I went into labor with you, then think again, because I won't, because I didn't." I'm Not Here to Hold Your Hand: I'm Here to Run a Business, by Brian Bieber.
So you know: the AP Stylebook has been updated and now "email" no longer needs a hyphen and "cellphone" and "smartphone" are both just single words.
The Tournament of Books Quarterfinals start today. I think this has been the best ToB yet, as evidenced by the three books it has motivated me to buy and read, Savages, Bad Marie and Lord of Misrule. (All three first-round losers btw.)
Under the Red, White and Blue or The High Bouncing Lover or Among the Ash Heaps? Rejected titles on this day in 1924.
Zulkey interviews Jordan Morris, co-host of the popular podcast, Jordan, Jesse, Go!
"Starting 1970 I will achieve world fame and from then onward till the end of 1980 I will have in my possession $10,000,000." Bruce Lee's Definite Chief Aim. It's good to have goals.
"I generally don't experience Great Literature until they make a video game out of it, so my pretension credentials (hereafter: 'pretentials') are in dire need of burnishing." Matthew Baldwin judges the Super Sad True Love Story versus Model Home match in the ToB.
"Jennifer Weiner has written one of the best judging commentaries in the history of the tournament... But here's the thing: I don't care. I couldn't put Bad Marie down." John Warner, in his commentary about Match Two of the Tournament of Books.
"Thou small-volted energizer, alkaline and acid-crammed, in a bare fortnight spent!" The contents of Scott David Herman's desk as Shakespearean insults.
A sure sign of spring, Opening Day for the Tournament of Books.
"Clothing donations sought for kids ready to leave smallpox pesthouse." For the next year, running up to state's centennial, the Arizona Daily Star is reprinting stories from 100 years ago. Via J-Walk.
Related to the last. "After too many years when stuff seemed to rule many lives, these things have been culled, sorted and mastered." Rob Walker on Web Sites That Collect Stuff So You Don't Have To.
"It should remind you of something you've never seen before." Notes on Design from Brendan Dawes.
"We Listen to NPR Precisely to Avoid This Sort of Stupidity." A great read by Farhad Manjoo about "the tedious, annoying complaints of public radio listeners." Thanks Claire.
Shaun Usher's fab Letters of Note has joined our advertising network for design, web and creative professionals, The Deck. If you have a product or service that could benefit by being in front of millions of savvy, curious, mostly good-looking people, give us a shout. There are a few slots still open in April and May.
"Fall in love with the future." —Ray Bradbury.
Lessons in from the Egyptian Revolution.
"8. A quick burst of 'The Ocean' by Led Zeppelin, which was on the cassette before I taped over it to make this new mix." Mix Tape for Dead Girl, by Joshua Allen. Found in Kevin Fanning's excellent 11 Things By Joshua Allen That Everyone Should Read.
Shady Characters, the secret life of punctuation, by Keith Houston.
The incomparable Joshua Allen rates everything ever on a scale from one to ten sexy ladies. Awesome.
Double-dose of McSweeney's today. What Your Favorite Classic Rock Band Says About You, by John Peck. Great.
"I did ask one once. In the beginning, when I still had hope for escape. I cornered him alone by the Gaägtorp cabinets." For The Love Of God, Show Me The Way Out Of This IKEA, by Sarah Lelek.
Bookshelf Porn editor's faves.
FotA James Kennedy has launched a project with the New York Public Library: the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival. Take any book that's ever won a Newbery Medal and make a film covering its entire plot in 90 seconds or less.
From 1946, George Orwell's essay Why I Write.
"Ordinarily a word so odd, so distinctive from others, wouldn't be allowed in a language to begin with." OK.
Google is putting every issue of Spy Magazine online.
Long-time FotA and multi-year Field-Tested Books contributor, Mike Sacks, has just released a collection of humor pieces he's written for the likes of McSweeney's and the New Yorker in the form of his new book, Your Wildest Dreams.
Speaking of climbing, Matt at 37signals has a great look at The 1972 Chouinard climbing catalog.
Surely ruffling a few feathers right now (MS, don't read it, as it speaks ill of your boyfriend): B.R. Myers' "The Moral Crusade Against Foodies."
Randomly just stumbled upon this scan of the meeting minutes from the 1946 encounter between Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein, which ended in philosophy's most famous fight. Highly recommended for anyone who has read the incredible book Wittgenstein's Poker.
A big congrats to our current Guest Editor, Jami Attenberg, who just sold her latest novel, The Middlesteins. Can't wait to read it.
For the day, the year's best sex writing in fiction from Salon.
Robert Gottlieb "has helped to shape some of the most influential books of the last fifty years, but nonetheless finds it difficult to understand why anyone would be interested in the nitpicky complaints, the fights over punctuation, the informal therapy, and the reading and re-reading of manuscripts that make up his professional life."
Stretch: What George Takei, a Toaster Oven and the Boston Celtics Have in Common. The Malcolm Gladwell Book Generator. Spot on.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Robotic Edition.
"This is the only short story I've written in ten years or so. I think you'll agree that they don't come much shorter." — Arthur C Clarke.
Tangentially related to the last, I Am Locking the Wikipedia Article On Our Sex Life, by Alan Trotter.
"I'll tell you when I've reached my limit, Pandora, which is when, after two and a half years together, Mike starts saying things like, 'I never imagined us staying together this long when we first started dating.'" Adapting My Pandora Preferences Based On My Completely Objective Opinions About Music, by Sarah Rosenshine.
"We intend to write to everyone in the world..." Mysterious Letters.
An Evening with J. D. Salinger, by Blair Fuller, for The Paris Review.
"Like everyone else, I assumed that the lottery was unbreakable... There's no way there could be a flaw, and there's no way I just happened to discover the flaw on my walk home." Cracking the Scratch-Off Lottery Code, by Jonah Lehrer for Wired.
The end of an interesting journey and a cautionary tale. A Bathing Ape Takes a Final Bath, by W. David Marx.
A new collaborative project "publishing lists of books that esteemed members of the design community identify as personally important, meaningful, and formative." Designers & Books. Our picks for required design reads can be found in the library.
Congrats to FotA Jeff Rutzky on the publication of his book, Shadowfolds.
The Field Notes tagline backed by science.
The Faux Arts: by Edward M. Yoder, Jr. Variations on the theme of deception.
Michael H. Miller reviews and excerpts J.D. Salinger: A Life.
Ten-year-old Jack Kennedy asks for a raise.
The Genius Bar, by Dan Kennedy.
"Note that when the people take 'in no uncertain terms' to mean something like 'in no way at all' rather than 'emphatically', they uniformly seem to use subject-aux inversion..." The Language Log states its opinion without reservation.
"After examining the painting, Penn looked on an online message board for museum registrars and found that 'Father Arthur Scott' did not exist, and neither did his rich mother nor his sister Emily in Paris. They had just played host to Mark Augustus Landis, the man responsible for the longest, strangest forgery spree the American art world has known."
The Times-Picayune accidentally lskdjf fkdasds all over the fgrasdf.
Q: "You've said before that your dream life is very important to you." A: "It's not been vivid for years, because I'm not having a nervous breakdown. That's when you get these really vivid electric dreams that are probably in their own way your subconscious trying to save your sorry ass." Great, entertaining Jonathan Miles interview with Jim Harrison, for Salon.
"What galls me about two-spacers isn't just their numbers. It's their certainty that they're right." An old argument in a fun new opinion piece about why two spaces never belong after a period.
Long-overdue, but finally just read David Mamet's On Directing Film last night. Highly recommended read for anyone, filmmaker or otherwise, who wants to think about the economy of storytelling.
The Sriracha Cookbook. Cha-Ching.
"...like two people heading to the bottom of a river, one falling and the other diving." On this day in 1941 James Joyce died in Zurich at the age of fifty-eight.
"But get this. The Academic Review and Planning Advisory Committee? I'm on that shit." Hey, Ladies: Check Out My Faculty ID, by Jonny Waldman.
A Simpler Page, by Craig Mod. Solid think about publishing in a liquid environment.
"Why Wasn't I Consulted?" A must-read piece by Paul Ford, but perhaps, keep your comments to yourself. The Web Is a Customer Service Medium.
Exploring New York from underneath, The Wilderness Below Your Feet.
A simple act elevates all.
Apple V Google.
In November of 1974, a Browns fan and season ticket holder sent a letter to the team regarding a concern of his. The Cleveland Browns (specifically, their general counsel) sent back an absolutely epic response.
Photos surfaced of a huge motorcycle graveyard in western New York a few months ago, so Dynamite Dave went to check it out. It's a great story to go with the amazing photos. (Via Crafty Matt)
The Girl Who Kicked the Style Guide. How June Casagrande would have edited Stieg Larsson. A monumental task, handled with wit and humor. Via GalleyCat.
The Better Marriage Blanket, Celestial Portraits and FarmVille For Dummies --Matthew Baldwin's 2010 Holiday Survival Guide for Slackers.
"The wise men were in the kitchen making more cocktails while Jesus was being 'born' and they missed their cue. My mom ran into the kitchen and yelled 'Jesus is here!' to which the wise men responded 'Oh! Right! Sh*t. Hang in there, Jesus! We're coming!!" The Year Kenny Loggins Ruined Christmas.
A great piece of reporting by Mary Rogan for GQ on Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, his son and a tragedy. Via Greg Wyshynski.
"The picture of human life is complete." -December 17, 1867.
Birnbaum v. Shteyngart at TMN.
"Have a lollipop, you've earned it, son." Z reports that the rants will continue until morale improves.
"Within an hour of landing in Buenos Aires, my already shaky relationship with a poet was over. His blog announced his sexual acts with a girl whose name was two letters different from my own, along with a declaration of his Looking For Love." Jessa Crispin is a Field Tester. Read all the reviews online or better yet, buy the Field Tested Books Book, now just nine bucks.
"Smugopedia is a collection of slightly controversial opinions about a variety of subjects. We offer you the chance to buy a fleeting sense of self-satisfaction at the small cost of alienating your friends and loved ones."
A Year in Reading 2010, a great feature to follow at The Millions.
"The way I rub my hands together | Demonstrates that I am evil | The dark, malignant overlord | Of all information retrieval" WikiLeaks! The Musical, by Ben Greenman.
"Our goal is to allow readers today to get a feel for what it was like to experience the conflict in real time, to hear the many voices trying to make sense of the conflict, and to sift through sometimes confused and misleading news accounts to try to discern what was actually taking place." An aggregator of the Civil War, The Long Recall. Via MeFi.
Newsweek takes a look at David Foster Wallace's personal files.
"In the fifth grade I was taught to speed-read on a machine that projected sentences onto a wall at high speeds, sentences in the white box of a screen, flashing in a dark room." I, Reader by Alexander Chee.
The latest issue of McSweeney's is now available in a "275-cubic-inch head crate" and features some writing by our own SD, sharing his thoughts on very minor Superman characters and indoor shooting clubs, among others.
Best New Blogs of 2010 from The Bygone Bureau. An excellent collection.
Zulkey's interview with Maria Schneider, the Onion writer behind the paper's long-running Jean Teasdale character.
Related to the last, one of my favorite This American Life stories, from the In the Shadow of the City episode, Act One: Brooklyn Archipelago.
125 Years of Popular Science.
"Homeless king and fool companion seek hole or hovel for immediate occupancy. Recently evicted by thankless daughters." Willslist, by Caroline Bicks and Michelle Ephriam.
A 2005 story from the Chicago Tribune about Eugene Lawson, driver of the CTA's 'Happy Bus,' which I had the good fortune to ride on this weekend.
A great piece by the NY Times' A.O. Scott about his grandfather's older brother, Eli Wallach.
"Dear Bruce Vilanch, I have written the following terrible jokes for this year's Oscars telecast. I anticipate you will use one, if not all of them. Prove me wrong."
"If you respect the blade, it will respect you back."
The Kurt Vonnegut dictionary of his imagination.
"It takes at least two people to have a conversation, but the real work is in making sure you're both having the same conversation." Your Cat. My Socks, Rands.
Lazy Self-Indulgent Book Reviews.
John Moe's Pop-Song Correspondences, Volume XXI, A note to parents from Bruce Springsteen, high-school cross-county coach. Only perfect.
On this day in 1602 the Bodleian Library at Oxford was officially opened to the public. It was quite a bit later when Harry studied there.
"I put my skepticism on the same shelf as my discomfort with page-view whoring and the depreciation of my chosen profession, polished up my resume, and uploaded it to Demand's resume-processing / world-domination cyberhub." Jessanne Collins' summer on a content farm/
Christian Thorne's dense, lengthy and worthwhile read about, among other things, Godzilla, Iron Man 2, and all points in between: "Telling Stories about Superweapons; or, There's Only One Way This Can End."
"Stop right now. Go get a scone."
"Last year, we were voted one of the top ten employers in our office park, and that's because there's nothing we value more than our dedicated employees. Truly, we heart them." About Our Company, by Yuk Ling Ho.
"Today, the more people you have listening to music, the quieter it gets." How Tuning Out Led to Tuning In. Brilliant, from Tweetage Wasteland.
Related to the last. If you're interested in investigating the Civil War, Stars in Their Courses : The Gettysburg Campaign, June-July 1863 by Shelby Foote is a most excellent place to begin.
"As Wesley would say, Rock over London. Rock on Chicago. Harlem Furniture, You'll Like Our Style'" Book Notes at Largehearted Boy with our own KG.
Khoi Vinh, My iPad Magazine Stand. Amen.
Rands: How to Be a Douche. Well-considered.
Be prepared to get lost, every single Paris Review interview from the past 60 years is now online.
Andrew shares how to carve a pumpkin.
Zulkey interviews Kevin Allison from The State.
"It's not just about the t-shirts... but it's kinda about the t-shirts." Omnivoracious on the Threadless book.
"Christmas was coming, and while I was afraid to talk to Leslie, I thought a gift might show her how I felt." Candygram from Mister Zeldman.
The Lost, Unpublished Dr. Seuss Manuscript. "It consists of nineteen handwritten and drawn pages, the first seven of which are completely in the hand of Dr. Seuss. The remaining pages are mostly written by an assistant with corrections and doodles by Dr. Seuss, some taped on." Thanks Henry.
"Even if you are the nicest guy in the world and you get to 800 million friends, you will ultimately make 30 to 33 million honest-to-goodness enemies, and maybe, if you're lucky, convert less than 3000 of those enemies into friends." The Unedited Version of 'The Social Network' movie poster.
"Shivering, I can barely make out a tiny light overhead. I sense I could reach it, but only if I fashion a ladder from these Twizzlers you've left for me." Jessi Arrington's Candygram.
Local note. Friend of the studio, Layer Tennis commentator extraordinaire and author Ben Greenman will be signing copies of his latest Celebrity Chekov at Borders on Clark tomorrow. See you there.
"My view on the matter is simple. It is not 'If it's funny, you laugh.' It is, instead, this: 'If you laugh, it's funny." Earl Pomerantz doesn't know what's funny.
The Simpsons explains its provocative Bansky opening.
Ruhlman reviews Bourdain's latest book, Review by a Frienemy.
"...so gritty and detailed and authentic and goddam convincing that, well, after the segment I found my normal present-day 'reality' pallid by comparison." A letter from PKD.
Joshua Allen fanboys, rejoice, Chokeville is live.
How did hipsters become so uncool?
"In tomorrow's New York Times, reporter Helene Stapinski performs what might appear to be a near-impossible feat of journalism dexterity: producing a college professor to support her thesis that more Americans now consume spaghetti tacos than ever before." The Times' go-to professor, Robert J. Thompson, appears again.
Related to the last, my Beloc impersonation, To Sweet Hereafter, from last year.
JSM's Candygrams are back for October and start off with Frank Chimero's Retrick/Retreat.
"He used up all his powers fighting the starfish monster."
What Batman taught Adam Rogers about being a good Dad.
Scientific American takes a look at why broadband service in the U.S. is so awful.
"I would like to retain 'fart in your general direction'."
Pauls Toutonghi and Ben Greenman (who tore it up as commentator in last Friday's Layer Tennis match) are reading a piece from each of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature and then writing letters to one another about what they've read: Nobel Reprise.
"I can work 25 hours a day if necessary, live on any reasonable salary, and don't give a black damn for job security, office politics, or adverse public relations." Hunter S. Thompson's 1958 letter to the Vancouver Sun, asking for a job.
So you know: the 2010 edition of the best anthology ever, The Best American Crime Reporting, is now available.
"The journals include a variety of colourful tales of 18th and 19th century ship life, from drunken rum-related incidents, venereal disease, scurvy, shark bites and tarantulas, to lightning strikes, gun fights, mutiny, arrests and court martial - not to mention ship wrecks and even murder."
"Almost 2,000 years after its last native speakers disappeared, the sound of Ancient Babylonian makes a comeback in an online audio archive."
"Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts." On this day in 1985, E. B. White died.
Today's long read, Why the Revolution will not be Tweeted.
American Book Review's 100 best first lines from a novel.
The Elegant Cockroach, a story about finding love in the big city.
"A dialogue with Sarah: aged 3: in which it is shown that if your Dad is a chemistry professor, asking 'Why' can be dangerous."
"I'm all about facilitating unique mail experiences, so I'm offering a little letter service, via a message in a bottle. Imagine receiving this miniature letter contained in a corked glass vial." Via Good Measure.
Amanda Enayati's simple true crime story, "My Relentless Pursuit of the Guy Who Robbed Me."
The folks at IDEO imagine the future of the book.
I Am the Orson Welles of PowerPoint, by Oyl Miller.
"I think that our future has lost that capital F we used to spell it with." William Gibson and the Future of the Future, by Douglas Gorney.
"Where you actually have the wedding in real life isn't as important as the domain name, but still probably worth thinking about." So you know, How to curate the most creative and unique viral wedding of all time.
Trailer for Michael Lopp's new book, Being Geek.
Promo video for The Exquisite Book.
"We recommend that you start with two: Title them 'Spouse A,' and 'Spouse B.' Sort your contacts accordingly." Facebook Privacy Settings for Bigamists, by Sean Tabb.
Claire interviews Rosecrans.
Things I've Overheard My Roommate Say to Her On-Again/Off-Again Boyfriend or Works by Joyce Carol Oates? By Wendy Oleson.
New Joshua Allen project! New Joshua Allen project! New Joshua Allen project!. New Joshua Allen project! Can't wait.
"As I sipped, between drunk and buzzed, suddenly there the mailman was,
Sitting near me at the bar, at the end near Diane Chambers' door.
'Another beer,' I ordered, sitting near Diane Chambers' door.
Quoth Cliff Clavin, 'Hiya, Norm." The Clavin Via Mental Floss
"How can you not make love to me in this all-white room with white bedding while I wear white underwear?" Domestic Conflict, Explained By Stock Photos, by Kevin Nguyen.
All My Friends Are Dead.
One more point for the "print is dead" team.
"In the beginning, before there was such a thing as a Gutenberg Bible, Johannes Gutenberg laid out his rows of metal type and brushed them with ink and, using the mechanism that would change the world, produced an ordinary little schoolbook."
Stunningly beautiful, stylish, highly collectible and each a limited numbered edition of 1000. Limited edition Puffin designer classics.
Fortune takes a look inside the secret world of Trader Joe's
"Some of my singing engagements take place late at night, in the homes of strangers, without audiences or music, and may appear to be elaborate art or jewel heists." Accompanist Needed, by Sean Adams.
"It amazes me, now, that any of us managed to write a word of sense during the whole decade, considering that we were all evidently stupid enough to wear flares." Kingsley and/or Martin Amis on Martin's birthday.
Linguistic Challenge puzzles.
So you know, how to turn old paperbacks into custom hardbacks.
The Sun Times has a great article on KG's latest novel, The Thousand. The book goes on sale tomorrow, pick it up and you won't be able to put it down.
Frank has some advice for graphic design students.
Rick Kogan on KG and his new thriller, The Thousand.
"As much as Chicagoan Kevin Guilfoile loves his city, he sets it on fire in his latest thriller, The Thousand.'" A nice piece by Robert Duffer on KG's new novel. Michele and I have read it already, highly, highly recommended.
"His voice is the driest of any great writer, drier than bone." Notes on a Voice, an appreciation of Graham Greene, by Nicholas Shakespeare.
"We'll drag that sparkly little jewel that is about to become Mr. Chuck Norris's forehead eye onto our desktop and prepare to do a little digital surgery..." The Joy of Photoshopping, by Oyl Miller.
The Call of Cthulhu in Under 2 Minutes.
For BB: Comedian Patton Oswalt gets interviewed very poorly and the interviewer blames Oswalt. "Q: What should people expect from these upcoming dates? A: A man doing jokes into a microphone? Q: Well, is there anything special about these dates as compared to previous ones? A: New material?"
KG is getting close to 1,000 Twitter followers ahead of the release of his new novel The Thousand. Once he's there he'll choose ten followers at random to win signed advance reader copies, with one also receiving a signed and hand-written and deleted chapter in a Field Notes Brand Memo Book. Ten others will receive a big Field Notes gift pack.
In honor of his first novel being released, FotA Rosecrans Baldwin kept a diary of the months leading up to You Lost Me There's publication: "Writing is My Peppermint-Flavored Heroin." Here's the trailer we made for his new book.
"Raw rain forest, if it's simply stripped and converted to pasture, is worth about $150 per hectare per year. But if it's used instead for sustainable uses, that figure rises to $1175." Some illustrations from The Little Book of Shocking Eco Facts.
Best read of the day: "Poor Little Rich Girls: The Ballad of Sara and Clare Bronfman," about a pair of sisters, heirs to the Seagram's fortune, and how they've already spent $100 million on a cult lead by a man who calls himself Vanguard. They're also soon to be related to singer M.I.A. through marriage.
Veer's Super-Incredible Activity Book for Creatives.
David Coburn's story of getting his pilot's license, quickly: "How I Learn to Fly (In a Week)."
Good long read for the beach this weekend: Richard Morgan's "Seven Years as a Freelance Writer, or, How To Make Vitamin Soup."
A fun response to a new level of bizarre: Are conservatives allowed to ride bikes?
A final farewell from Pindeldyboz, the literary journal responsible for lots of good things (like my meeting my wife). Thanks for a fun decade.
FotA Jami Attenberg's fantastic story of getting her bike stolen and the police sting operation that got it back. "I rode off on my bike, and I haven't been able to stop laughing and smiling for the last hour. This is one of the best days of my life, no joke."
Related to below: some background on "Tiger" Mike and a fantastic description of the man and his office. "The most noticeable object was a large porcelain leopard (about 4 ft tall) on the right hand side of his desk."
"Do not speak to me when you see me. If I want to to speak to you, I will do so. I want to save my throat. I don't want to ruin it by saying hello to all of you sons-of-bitches." The cheerful and reasonable Tiger Oil Memos.
Excerpts from Ben Greenman's new production: Favre! The Musical.
The easiest way to write your life story.
" Librarians should limit themselves to one 'cat story' per day to avoid the risk of becoming a bore around the library workplace. Also, once you are home, limit yourself to one 'library story' per day to avoid becoming a bore to your cat." From the Librarian's Guide to Etiquette.
"'Stop it!' said my Dad. 'Print is dying! Stop looking at those videos!'" The Print Is Not Dead, It Is Not Even Print. By Tess Lynch, who we have just bookmarked under 'awesome,' and not because she's using a Field Notes theme for Tumblr that we had nothing to do with. Via TMN.
So you know. How to write a book. "Your endless internal debate and self-conjured guilt about that book you haven't written yet is a sensational waste of your time." -Michael Lopp.
"The top 100 most downloaded copyright free books summarized using Microsoft Word 2008's AutoSummarize 10-sentence function and organized alphabetically."
I don't even know what the hell Mark from 37s is talking about most of the time, but I love his Nuts & Bolts posts anyhow.
We heard this story from KG at Conference Room B the other evening and we're glad to see he wrote it up. I'll Be Hoping For the Big One Out of the Blue, a tale about an old book, Christy Mathewson, the '29 Series at Wrigley, and how you never really know what you'll find if you're not looking.
"When you get 200 designs with strawberries, we'd do a strawberry shoe. So that's how we would do it and having our own factory, I could have a new shoe out tomorrow." A great interview with Steve Van Doren: "The History of Vans."
Slushpile Hell held a Twitter contest for the top 25 worst children's books ever.
Today's long read, What should medicine do when it can't save your life. Worth reading.
Laura Jayne Martin is tired of sharing an apartment with William Carlos Williams. Claire Zulkey, on the other hand, seems quite satisfied with the arrangement as it is. (From our Verse By Voice series.)
"The key for any soothsayer/fortune teller is to, above all, keep it vague." The Bilbioracle returns to The Morning News this afternoon. For a bit of background, see Laura Miller's piece in Salon.
"Picasso said that a great work of art comes together 'just barely.'" Literary Endings: Pretty Bows, Blunt Axes, and Modular Furniture by Sonya Chung at The Millions.
"...but when my day-camp counselor asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I did not tell her that I hoped one day to correct who-whom mix-ups or determine whether 'faucetry' was a real, dictionary-approved word. I told her I wanted to be a princess." Lori Fradkin, Copy Editor.
"...the new national pastime: Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and making determinations and judgments without a full set of facts." Tweetage Wasteland.
I'm not quite sure, but I think the point being made here is that "Login" is not a verb.
Simon Armstrong buys book for Tate Britain and Tate Modern shops in London, here are some books he loved from last year.
"Picking a font from a drop-down tool bar is not 'typography'.".
KG is getting close to 1,000 Twitter followers ahead of the release of his new novel The Thousand. Once he's there he'll choose ten followers at random to win signed advance reader copies, with one also receiving a signed and hand-written and deleted chapter in a Field Notes Brand Memo Book. Ten others will receive a big Field Notes gift pack.
"So I've resolved to reread the man. I've taken my favorite Vonnegut novel, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, down from the shelf. To my surprise, having it so near has made me anxious, as if an ex-girlfriend has returned." -Jacob Lambert for The Millions.
How long can food be out of the fridge before it kills me?
"Dear husband, that first weekend we spent together, I saw you when you thought I wasn't looking. You were sitting on the futon in my tiny efficiency apartment over the shoe store and didn't realize I could see you in the hallway mirror. You had leaned your head against the wall, closed your eyes and had a look on your face like you were both in pain and in bliss all at the same time. That's how I knew you were in love with me." Dead Advice. Via Gapers Block.
"Which means that more and more journalists are getting exposed to thinking in grids and bulk-editing and so forth. Or at least getting interns to do it for them. Which is interesting. Also, getting fired or taking a buyout helps people gain perspective on what they like doing; there's that." Real Editors Ship, by Paul Ford. Brilliant.
The Slow and Painful Collapse of a Relationship Over the Course of a Weeklong Vacation as Expressed by the Names Each Partner Gave Their Digital Photos Taken During Said Vacation. By Matt Hulten.
Faulkner at Virginia, background on his lectures, which have now been digitized and are available for listening. Awesome.
The Lizard, the Catacombs, and the Clock, by Sean Michaels. What's beneath Paris and the society that's uncovering it. Things Magazine has more including links to catacomb maps, and photos.
"Your subjective experience is not observable, and you overestimate how much you telegraph your inner thoughts and emotions." The illusion of transparency.
"Why oh why oh Won't you stay in Ohio? Please don't do this to the Cavs. We'll be have-nots instead of haves." Fragments from Ben Greenman's LeBron! The Musical.
Heartbreaking but lovely letter written to actor Patrick Stewart regarding his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
"I don't think we capture the right moments. The camera flashes and we pose. We pose. We create moments as artificial as the memory we want of them." Pictures, by Jack Shedd.
"#15: Everyone shall have the right to spend overnight in the Studio working." Related to the last, and one reason we love Art.Lebedev. The Constitution.
"Now, don't get me wrong: I still love nude, dancing girls and the promotion of nude, dancing girls to lonely men. That's why all of my strippers will remain employed by Squeezle." To the Loyal Patrons of 4 Play Diamond Lounge, by Lucas Kavner.
Fascinating, The Writer Who Couldn't Read.
A particularly catastrophic summer reading list from The Millions. To that I'd add Earth Abides by George Stewart. For non-apocalyptic (mostly) summer reading, check our Field-Tested Books Book.
Humor writer Polly Frost shares her fave 10 funny novels of the 20th century. Any list that contains Post Office, Lucky Jim and Rosemary's Baby is okay by me.
"Wait - Lex Luther is your Facebook Friend?" The Man of Tomorrow gets email.
A modern, compulsively-readable epistolary novel, like Clarissa, only in emails. And funny.
An eloquent argument for engaged reading that won't take at all long to read.
"For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity's affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss--a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity's mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world's thirstiest gerbil." Congrats to Molly, winner of the this year's Bulwer-Lytton contest for bad fiction.
"Many of the occupants were noticeably perspiring due to lack of ventilation or air conditioner, and had subsequently removed most of the their clothing." Building code violations for the Love Shack, by Curtis Retherford.
UPS was founded by two teenagers with one bicycle and $100, borrowed from a friend.
"Even Zynga's designers seem well aware that their game is repetitive and shallow." A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz's great read "Cultivated Play: Farmville" on why so many people play the game. And for further reading: PumpkinZonia. Via DF.
"Her friends agree to introduce me to her on one condition: that I make no mention of 'The Book', as people here refer to it." A rare meeting with the reclusive Harper Lee.
Steve Martin has leaked Steve Martin's tour rider.
"As we walked to the car Chris asked, 'Do you think he was embarrassed by us?' 'Oh, definitely,' I said, laughing. 'And he's not using sunscreen.'" The Other Fellow First, by my Sis.
In support of his new book, What He's Poised To Do, Ben Greenman and I ran an experiment dubbed The Reverse Textual Rorschach, wherein, while traveling through Norway, I tried to guess what the stories in his book are about based on snippets he provided.
Karim Rashid on information aesthetics in industrial design.
"Résumé, Woodyard's latest, is an exasperating piece of literary claptrap worth less than the single sheet of paper it was printed on and the five to eight seconds it took me to scan it." A Literary Critic Reviews My Résumé, by Kent Woodyard.
"The older I get, the better I was." Nice
piece by Earl Pomerantz.
"I know. Comparing a fifteenth-century book to a defunct home video technology from the era of leotards and big hair is a bit underwhelming." The Betamax of Printing, Laura Massey's Dispatches from a Rare Book Shop.
"What were we thinking about when we had all that extra time?" Say Hello to My Little Friend from Dave Pell. Brilliant.
Required reading for the week: Errol Morris' five part series about unknown unknowns: "The Anosognosic's Dilemma: Something's Wrong But You'll Never Know What It Is." Part two is here.
"The only difference between me and perhaps you is that my imagination earns me money." Ian Fleming's 1962 essay for the Guardian, "How to Write a Thriller."
"My new publisher, at Publishing House W, is Editor G, who left Publishing House Y for the job." Susan Orlean's first book made the rounds.
Oh mighty Biblioracle, what shall I read next?
100 staircases, 35 miles, two days, and too many new friends to count. Alissa went on a walk.
Local note for NYC. Ben Greenman is reading from What He's Poised To Do tonight at the Greenlight Bookstore.
Ulysses for Dummies.
DT Max's great story in the New Yorker about Joyce's grandson: "The Injustice Collector."
Geoff wonders what would happen if you fed all of Ulysses into a 3D printer?
"I am kinda self-conscious about my heart, and its contents." Dispatch 14 from a guy trying unsuccessfully to sell a song In Nashville.
The Great Salami Caper -Z.
Great Literature Retitled To Boost Website Traffic, by Mike Lacher.
How to write a Malcolm Gladwell Bestseller (also known as the 'MGB').
The psychology of Darth Vader revealed.
So you know. To indent or not to indent.
"Dear Goneril, I always thought you had the ugliest name. Oh, and the ugliest character. You told your father that you loved him more than words can say. Leo Sayer said that same thing, but he didn't go on to betray his father and poison his sister, at least as far as I know." Letters With Character, "letters written to fictional characters by actual people." Inspired by Ben Greenman's new collection of short stories What He's Poised To Do.
"She will not show herself, the long-dead chambermaid. For hours I have waited in Room 217, sulking and dozing upon this hotel coverlet, my clothes flung around like a teenager's, a sock here and a sock there."
The Truth: You prefer the things you own because you rationalize your past choices to protect your sense of self." Fanboyism and Brand Loyalty.
Two years before his death, footage of William Burroughs shooting William Shakespeare, which, strangely, is exactly what it sounds like.
"Two popular types of bad copyediting are (1) editing that didn't need doing in the first place, and (2) needed editing that didn't get done. Both types can be accomplished with or without the aid of a computer, but there are reasons why a copyeditor deploying a word processor is likely to end up committing both."
"Which are the most inspirational five books about film ever written?" Sight & Sound asked 51 leading critics and writers.
"On this day in 1964, T. S. Eliot wrote to Groucho Marx to confirm that he was sending a car to pick 'you and Mrs. Groucho' up for dinner."
"Avis will never know as much about advertising as DDB, and DDB will never know as much about the rent a car business as Avis." A list of advertising philosophies assembled by the rental car company. How much was put into real world practice is anyone's guess.
I can tell millions of dollars wouldn't make you happy anyway: a brief follow-up with regard to my losing your money, by Dan Kennedy.
Related to the last, sort of. Laura Ingalls Wilder on Twitter.
"We know screwups are an essential part of making something good. That's why our goal is to screw up as fast as possible." Wired takes a look at How Pixar built Toy Story 3.
Today's long read, The Pleasures of Imagination.
Design your own Wallpaper cover.
The Shop I Want -Rands.
"If your chosen book fails to please you, the Biblioracle will refund you the cost of your free recommendation." John Warner knows all. Greetings From the Biblioracle at The Morning News. Live today, you tell John which five books you've most recently read and he will tell you what to read next. Here's how this all got started.
All right! Rosecrans Baldwin's debut novel You Lost Me There is featured in Time Mag's summer preview.
"Exactly a century after rumours of his death turned out to be entirely accurate, one of Mark Twain's dying wishes is at last coming true: an extensive, outspoken and revelatory autobiography which he devoted the last decade of his life to writing is finally going to be published."
Great long read, The Afterlife of Stieg Larsson.
Zulkey interviews former Gawker editor and current memoirist Emily Gould.
So you know, the worst beverage in America: Cold Stone PB&C (Gotta Have It size, 24 fl oz) - 2,010 calories, 131 g fat (68 g saturated), 153 g sugars. Sugar Equivalent: 30 Chewy Chips Ahoy Cookies (yum).
The New York Review of Magazines is an annual published by students at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Ambitious and definitely worth checking out.
As Lapham's describes this graphic, "everyone who was anyone knew everybody who was anybody."
Look at Me! Long CJR piece by Maureen Tkacik on writing for various places, including the Journal and Jezebel, and how things have worked out. Or maybe haven't.
"The speed record for the nearly two thousand mile Pony Express route was set at seven days, 17 hours with the delivery of Lincoln's inaugural address. Can you imagine if the recipients of that letter opened the dust-covered envelope to find a message that only included one line: Abraham just checked-in at the U.S. Capitol." Tweetage Wasteland.
A smart new book club idea from The Rumpus.
Lesson learned: don't put your Social Security number on a billboard if your identity theft protection service can't really protect you. Great read from the Phoenix New Times about LifeLock and their ubiquitous ads.
"And no more of that talk about 'the tragedy of fame.' The tragedy of fame is when no one shows up and you're singing to the cleaning lady in some empty joint that hasn't seen a paying customer since Saint Swithin's day." Frank Sinatra writing to George Michael in 1990.
"It has been a tradition in the village since 1633, when their ancestors made a promise to God that they would perform the play if the village was spared from the bubonic plague. They were indeed spared, and as a result they are still performing the play to this day."
"Whoa, you scared the bejesus out of me. I guess I didn't hear you come in. How long have you been standing there? Anyway, welcome to Taco Bell. What can I get you?" Kevin Nguyen's imaginary conversations with American Apparel models.
It took the Secret Service ten years to find a counterfeiter so inept he spelled "Washington" wrong on his dollar bills: Snopes on counterfeiter Mr. 880.
Five Dials Magazine. Number 12.
"They must be written by a real person and must also address an unreal one." FotA Ben Greenman has put a call out asking for letters to famous fictional characters, which he'll be posting here.
Harry Potter and the Waterproof Pearl. "Gandalf, Harry and some random character named Peter go on an adventure to find the Little Warriors who live in a desert city in the sea." 11 Amazing fake Harry Potter books written in China.
"Ivan needs mortar to build a power station. But this mortar is all frozen! Ivan's suffering is boundless." Baby's Touch 'N Feel Guide to Russian Literature, by Summer Block.
There's only one post up so far, but I get the feeling I'm going to be a big fan of The Cataloguer's Desk, Dispatches from a Rare Book Shop by Laura Massey and Adam Douglas.
Veganizing Betty Crocker, Meet the Shannons.
Simon Akam on a bestsellers list culled from the sidewalk booksellers of NYC. Via The Casual Optimist.
"When a hundred and sixty thousand Allied troops invaded Sicily on July 10, 1943, it became clear that the Germans had fallen victim to one of the most remarkable deceptions in in modern military history."
"Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche: Summer replacement for previous town philosopher. Stays for good." Famous Philosophers and How They Were First Discovered, by Mike Sachs.
How soap operas could save the world.
"Maybe he's one of those deluded souls who truly think that stand-up comedians get their jokes from books, and that any comedy bit is somehow public domain." Patton Oswalt's fantastic response to a joke thief, parts one and two.
Meet 48 Hour Magazine: "As the name suggests, we're going to write, photograph, illustrate, design, edit, and ship a magazine in two days." With your help.
David Ogilvy showed Andy Maslen how to write for the web. Amen. Via @acejet170.
"I was sweating, my face was red, I kept putting the book down, going: This can't be this good this can't be this good." George Saunders is a Field-Tester. Find his essay and hundreds of others online or better yet, buy the book.
Good Show Sir- only the worst Sci-Fi/Fantasy book covers.
"We post articles, past and present, that we think are too long and too interesting to be read on a web browser." Meet Long Form.
"1. When you are at your parents' house, alone in their bathroom, you pick up the Reader's Digest and genuinely enjoy the jokes they use as filler items at the ends of stories. (+5 points)" Is Country Music Right For You? A Quiz. The 12th dispatch from a guy trying unsuccessfully to sell a song In Nashville.
The Awl's Annual Ranking of the Most-Read Fictional Publications.
Voltaire and the not-so-random Random House logo, by Adam Tschorn.
Dave Pell walked the Brooklyn Bridge without Facebook. Sweet.
"In order to be desirable, these archives depend on the creation and maintenance of a collective social collectomania: we must all become obsessives to sustain an economy founded on pushing digitised media." Collectomania, dig that. How To Build a Library from Things Mag.
Embracing the Digital Book by Craig Mod. Amen to all that.
Fascinating long read about Dr. Steven Hatfill, the man initially suspected in the 2001 anthrax attacks, The Wrong Man.
The new literary theft isn't plagiarism but something a lot closer to actual stealing and fencing.
"If a hyphen can save you from ambiguity, then go for it."
KG's new novel, The Thousand finally has a cover.
For SD, Good Show Sir.
"I note 'where I was' when I learned of various notable deaths, and record any related thoughts. For the last few years, I have collected these entries into annual zines." Rob Walker's fascinating Where Were You? 2009 is available free.
Terry Gross: What I Read. Endlessly fascinating story and an endlessly fascinating person.
"Fizzing. First-rate, very good, excellent: synonymous with 'stunning.' Manly slang from the 19th century. Totally using "Fizzing" in future Fresh Signals posts, look for it.
Oddly, in real life, Curious George really did save the day.
"Thou shalt accept how she clearly humors you. Do not, by any means, stare at the beckoning gap at the top of her shirt. Do not, sir, stare at her hindquarters when she retreats." Midwestament, by Matthew Roberson.
How many DDs is it going to take to get me a KTTW to HH? Stumbled across while working on something else: common abbreviations and acronyms used by the "cast members" who work for Disney.
"Traveling by helicopter throughout a combat zone in body armor to hear a response to an RFP is a big change from New York, Chicago or L.A." Interesting story about advertising and production in Afghanistan.
Related to the last. Follow the Chicago Manual of Style on Twitter.
"Just you wait, I'll become famous after I'm dead about ten years." On this day in 1977 Jim Thompson died.
"Norris, 26 years his junior, was Mailer's fifth and final wife. In order to marry her, he was obliged — over the course of a few days — to divorce his third wife, then marry and immediately divorce his fourth." Memoirs of Mailer. Via Fimoculous.
"Almost every seat was full. A little boy in church clothes carefully deconstructed a vanilla cone. An old man and woman sat on the same side of a table, the woman feeding the man a Blizzard." Dairy Queen, a small-town Texas institution.
Today is the Championship at The Morning News Tournament of Books.
"Three decades after The Official Preppy Handbook was first unleashed into bookstores, a follow-up called True Prep is in the works — hoping to reignite preppy fervor, update the mindset and explain just what it means to be a Chip or a Muffy in a Barack world."
"When they were published, some where bestsellers, some were considered scandalous, and others were simply misunderstood." Beautiful covers. Beautiful website. The Penguin Decades series.
"He is perhaps best known in pop-culture circles for conducting the infamous 1989 interview with Professor Griff of Public Enemy." Ben Greeman shares his thoughts on David Mills' passing.
Charlie Stross answers the question Why are novels generally the length that they are?
The Tournament of Books Quarterfinals continue today. Yesterday in the comments, John Warner told people to list the last five books they've read and he'd tell them what to read next. Check out the results.
On this day in 1957, U.S. Customs agents seized 520 copies of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" on the grounds of obscenity."
"The math is simple: my lunch was missing for 3 nights, 3 being the first odd prime number and the second smallest prime, not to mention a Fermat prime -which Ted, you're a jackass for not catching the second time around." Missing Lunch at Wikipedia, by Jimmy Chen.
The Quarterfinals continue at The Morning News Tournament of Books. Laura Miller of Salon praises the tourney and the Guilfoile/Warner daily commentary. Amen to that, especially today's chat on how we choose what to read?
"What? You want to shoot some bullets into the place he fell just to make sure? What the fuck am I? Made of bullets?" Sam Burnett is "almost positive our hero is dead now."
"Here's an appearance I did on the Joy Behar Show with Lori Gottlieb!" Comedian/author Julie Klausner learns an important lesson of double checking YouTube links before you send them off to television producers.
It's Margaret Atwood versus Victor LaValle in the final first-round match today in the The Morning News Tournament of Books, presented by our Field Notes. Also, the Zombie contenders are revealed in KG and John Warner's comments.
Dave's head is in the cloud.
They don't make computer manuals like they used to.
"The Arctic is the world's second-largest desert. The snowflakes are large and dry like the little paper circles from a three-hole punch. You can't even eat them to stay alive. They will dehydrate you. They will kill you faster than drinking no water at all." Is your workplace as rough as the Arctic?
"Can I use a human pregnancy test on my dog?" and hundreds more: Yahoo! Answer Fail
From a leaked memo, a strange list of "forbidden 'newsspeak' words and phrases" not to be used by anchors and reporters on WGN-AM, a local news/talk radio station.
"...translates the visual insights of his age into the patterns of everyday life." Steve Heller on becoming a designer in the Age of Aquarius.
The ads "tended to use tropes borrowed from science fiction and from mid-century modern design to convey a sense of fantasy and possibility around the process of technological emergence that was erupting." Better Than Apollo: The Space Program We Almost Had, Alexis Madrigal chats with Megan Prelinger about her fabulous-looking new book Another Science Fiction. Cha-ching.
"Airlocks provide a buffer zone between incompatible environments and are a perfect example of how architecture can function as a spatial interface." YOU SUCK: An Airlock Lexicon.
Real doctors review each episode of the medical drama tv show House.
You're Not Funny by Earl Pomerantz.
"Wolfe showing up to many meetings with freshly-written material, which Perkins would read, admire, and mostly cut." On this day in 1935 Thomas Wolfe's Of Time and the River was published.
"Can we call ourselves an institution yet?" The sixth edition of The Morning News Tournament of Books kicks off today.
"You used to hustle ping pong with David Mamet, right? Yeah." Zulkey interviews Jonathan Katz, who continues to win my vote as greatest person ever.
"This was Team USA's only major disappointment in the games, with American favorite Triage Jansen bowing out midway through the race when she realized she had to be at work the next morning an hour earlier than she"d realized." 24th Existential Olympics, by Jonathan Kaufman Nathan.
Walmart versus Whole Foods; The Great Grocery Smackdown.
Now that SD is back from Europe, I can post this. Fascinating and frightening long read about The Last Four Minutes of Air France Flight 447.
Reading while biking. Fernando Pessoa's poem "The Keeper of Sheep" printed on the road for bicyclists in Lisbon.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes the true history of our sixteenth president. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Ken Burns and Robert Stone at the NYPL, on Fora TV.
The Death of Film Criticism.
The brackets are announced for this year's Morning News Tournament of Books (sponsored by Field Notes this year!) and it's a very tough field to handicap. Luckily, Andrew Seal has the inside dope in his Introduction to Nerdhalla.
A time suck you can feel good about: True Slant's amazing compilation of the Best Journalism of 2009.
A Robbery of Three Liberal Arts Graduates: The Police Report, by Eliot Nelson.
Read the correction at the end.
Ten rules for writing fiction from people who know. Elmore Leonard, "Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip." Roddy Doyle. "Do not place a photograph of your favourite author on your desk, especially if the author is one of the famous ones who committed suicide."
Status, Vol. 1. A lavishly designed compilation of inspiring, funny, say-what status messages from both sides of the Atlantic.
"The Great Gatsby is an inspired title, one for the ages, but it wasn't Fitzgerald's idea. He wanted to call the novel Trimalchio in West Egg, which sounds like something Dr. Seuss might have dreamed up for The Playboy Channel." What makes a good title? Via MeFi.
What we are supposed to do when we are at our best. This goes directly to the top of my daily bookmark list, a series of personal, beautiful posts by .J. S. Yingling. I love today's and this one too. Man. Thanks a million to Richard Niejelski for sending the link.
Somebody call Skully and Mulder, the UK just released a slew of UFO-related documents dating from 1994-2000. Flying Toblerones?
Are you reading Tweetage Wasteland? Thought so.
From the McSw archives, I lost my greeting-card gig because of my drinking. By Dan Kennedy.
The 33rd Degree.
The World's Smallest Postal Service.
The Early Woody Allen 1952-1971.
Dick Francis RIP.
"(59) Tell her how you feel while you stand at the foot of the huge bed and look upon her sleeping body, while cursing yourself for being a ghost whose words cannot be heard by the living." Paul Ford's 100 Ways To Say "I Love You."
Two previously known and 15 brand-new closing signatures, to be inserted at the end of your love letters for Valentine's or any other day, by Mike Sacks.
Related to the last. I didn't really get what it was about when I was eleven, but I kept going back to it, over and over again. I'm not sure I really get it now either, but here it is. The Last Whole Earth Catalog from June of 1971.
A good read for times like right now, when I probably should be doing something else: Scott Hansen talks to other creative folk about their strategies for overcoming creative block.
On this day in 1926, Ernest Hemingway pulled a fast one on one publisher to sign with another.
"My deft touch with magazine collages will no doubt lend immediate impact to your companies presentations." A cover letter from an art major seeking a job that literally requires him to apply the skills he learned in school, by Andrew Miller.
"Advertising agency of the future sounds a bit like horse drawn carriage of the future." Amen. A thoughtful piece by Bud Caddell.
"My stomach lurched a little when I realized that it was Salinger, for real, on the other end of the phone, speaking rather too loudly and seeming a bit confused by my voice..." Joanna Smith Rakoff on answering J. D. Salinger's' mail.
Sumedicina, a data fiction project, that tells a story through infographics.
Paul: More! Always more! I love putting things on the web. I like the paywall because it helps us pay writers and writers should be paid. Choire: *blinks* Choire Sicha and Paul Ford chat about magazines and the web. So awesome I probably would have paid for it.
A corpse, a false identity, spies galore, and a pre-Bond Ian Flemming. Reading this two part excerpt of Ben MacIntyre's new book Operation Mincemeat will have just one result: Cha-ching.
Tangentially related to the last. The edition of Norman MacLean's A River Runs Through It designed and illustrated with wood engravings by Barry Moser is a must-have. Also, I love this photo of MacLean by Veronica C. Wald.
Letters to dead people.
Some of Jason Santa Maria's books.
"It settles on being a hybrid of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and Herk Harvey's 1962 horror film, Carnival of Souls." Local film critic Jonathan Miller has begun reviewing campaign ads.
Relink on today's news. Here's a letter JDS wrote in 1957 to a producer interested in filming Catcher in the Rye. Salinger's refusal, as you might expect, is a firm one and his reasons unimpeachable.
"Oh, it isn't finished. It's about a kid in New York during the Christmas holidays." Robert Giroux on resigning from Harcourt after they refused to publish Catcher in the Rye. Via Maud Newton.
"Just because Cyber Policeman and Robocop are both set in a dystopian Detroit and involve robots, it does not mean they are the same movie."
PSFK interviews our current guest editor, Rob Walker, about the second round of his Significant Objects project. A list of all the other brilliant people who have helped us by guest editing Fresh Signals can be found here.
"This is your lunch starring: Sir Walter Strawberry, Claudia Cantaloupe, Blackberry Jones with a guest appearance by Chicken Salad Sammy." Lunch notes from my permanent roommate.
So you know, how to use a semicolon.
"Edmund Wilson regrets that it is impossible for him to:"
FotA Ben Greenman has added a second act to his Edwards! The Musical.
Has the 60-year-old tradition of roses and cognac come to an end? The mysterious stranger, or the "Poe Toaster," failed to show up at Edgar Allen Poe's grave this week to celebrate his birthday.
You are following along as Charlie Hopper tries to sell a song in Nashville, aren't you? Dispatch 7: Verse Verse Lift Chorus Verse Lift Chorus Bridge Chorus.
Stock and Flow, a metaphor from economics smartly applied to digital creation, by Robin Sloane.
"In the autumn of 1992, on a school-sponsored trip to Stratford, Ontario, for the Shakespeare Festival, I wandered into a used bookstore with some friends and made an unexpected find: a completely blank datebook from 1954." Three years align for Andrew Huff. Awesome.
"...and then a rippled yam." Writing about sex and how not to do it, by Sonya Chung.
"As I.D.'s sole editor in New York working alongside the ad salespeople, my friend spent the next year trying to manage staff in another state whom, he complained, he had not been allowed to hire and who had never heard of Philip Johnson."
"What do you mean, she'll get here 'when she comes'? That's not a time. How can I plan around that?" Mom Takes Children's Songs Literally, by Sarah Schmelling.
ISO50 interviews Experimental Jetset. Excellent.
"Back when I was a boy, I bought a children's book at my town's library book sale called 2010: Living in the Future by Geoffrey Hoyle... I've somehow managed to hang onto it for 25 years and now, suddenly, here we are: 2010. I'm reproducing this long out-of-print book here to see how we're doing." -Daniel Sinker.
Paul Ford is this week's Non-Expert at TMN, he answers the question Is there an afterlife? If you scroll down a bit you can listen to him read it aloud. You should do that.
Related to below: Boontling, the language developed in the late 1800s and spoken by residents of Boonville, CA. I have a translation dictionary you can borrow, if anyone's dishing to jape out to Boont.
A forged will, bad blood, angry scholars and fans. Fascinating story behind the state of Kerouac's estate.
FotA Ben Greenman passes along his "new musical to banish the old year forever": Fragments from Balloon Boy! The Musical.
This reminds me of how I'd answer test questions in high school when I hadn't studied any of the material (and why it's surprising that I still graduated, given how much I enjoyed doing it): Biography: Walt Whitman.
"People haven't been just reporting on Grills's work: he's being eviscerated for it." The story behind epidemiologist Nathan Grills' medical journal-published hoax "Santa Claus: A Public Health Pariah?"
One drawing for every page of Moby Dick.
Martha Scotford's "short tale of legal, design and production choreography." Ulysses: Fast Track to 1934 Best Seller. Great.
"When all the elements of a camel-case compound are words that could stand on their own, slice it open: Master Card, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Word Perfect. When some elements are letters or word fragments, sew it up and capitalize conventionally: Iphone, Ebay, Fedex." The Knee-Capping of Intercapping, by Caleb Crain. Amen.
The Harry Potter economy.
"They apparently thought they could squish the book like a bug, but were quickly reminded what country we live in." Zulkey interviews Michael Gross, the author of one of the best books of the year, Rogues' Gallery: The Secret History of the Moguls and the Money that Made the Metropolitan Museum.
"That could even be the secret--the emotionless efficiency of Swedish technology, paradoxically combined with the wicked allure of the pitiless elfin avenger, plus a dash of paranoia surrounding the author's demise." Vanity Fair looks at the allure of author Stieg Larsson and his books.
"This works like an advent calendar, every day from the 10th to the 24th of December a new window will open with a fresh and unsettling story behind it. To open the door click the rodent on the correct day." Terrifying Tales for Christmas. Via Things.
The world's best sommelier vs. the world's worst customer.
A fave entry in this year's Regret the Error corrections round-up. From the LA Times, "Bear sighting: An item in the National Briefing in Sunday's Section A said a bear wandered into a grocery story in Hayward, Wis., on Friday and headed for the beer cooler. It was Thursday."
Amazon's editors choose their Best Books of 2009.
Related to the last. Eliot reading The Waste Land.
"Eliot's manuscript title for the poem was 'He Do the Police in Different Voices,' taken from Dickens's Our Mutual Friend, where the orphan Sloppy is so praised for his dramatic abilities when reading out the crime news." On this day in 1922 The Waste Land was published.
"I'll try to tell you what my attitude is to the stage and screen rights of The Catcher in the Rye. I've sung this tune quite a few times, so if my heart doesn't seem to be in it, try to be tolerant..." --J. D. Salinger. Via TMN.
New Scientist's best books of 2009.
Sweet Juniper's second in a series of great profiles on local businesses in Detroit: R. Hirt Jr., Est. 1887.
"Although it topples a good many cherished myths, and does so with patent glee, it cannot properly be called revisionist for there has never been a lucid and comprehensive presentation of the Bauhaus to revise." The New Criterion reviews the current MoMA exhibit Bauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops for Modernity
The Year's Work in Lebowski Studies, from Indiana University Press.
I Am Locking the Wikipedia Article On Our Sex Life, by Alan Trotter.
"Frontier American journalism preserved a vestige of the low-church impulse toward universal literacy whereby the new country imagined it could read and write itself into existence. We were the Gutenberg Nation." Final Edition: Twilight of the American newspaper, by Richard Rodriguez. Brilliant.
"Acknowledging that few readers, if any, read exclusively newly published books, we've asked our regular contributors and distinguished guests to name, from all the books they read this year, the one(s) that meant the most to them." A Year in Reading from The Millions.
The San Francisco Panorama is published today.
Regarding today's Eye, The Letters, transcribed, translated, illustrated and annotated at the Van Gogh Museum. See you in a few hours.
"I keep checking the rearview mirror anyway. From this point on, there's no such thing as sure. Being too sure will get me caught." Evan tries to vanish.
How do the Somali pirates fund their hijackings? They have their own stock exchange.
Where do you begin when you decide to write to everyone in the world?
Slashfilm's got a peek at some of the items from the new book Star Wars: 1,000 Collectibles: Memorabilia and Stories from a Galaxy Far, Far Away.
Local note: Our SD will unveil a new Zamboni film as writers, artists and comedians opine on the subject of hockey at The Encyclopedia Show tonight at the Chopin Theatre.
"Writers should take themselves more seriously than those at Maxim, which we've actually glanced at once or twice, but shouldn't be as conceited as we imagine the writers at GQ are."
Writing the Submission Guidelines for Magazines I've Never Read, by Ralph Gamelli.
Today's long read, The Rise and Fall of Design Within Reach.
A huge collection of vintage mid-century children's books.
A fun video tour through the alphabet of ABC3D, a pop-up book by Marion Bataille which I found listed in this Hilobrow compendium of pop-up book videos which popped up at the excellent Jacket Copy from the LAT.
Goodnight Keith Moon.
Fray #3 is now available. Hooray for Sex & Death.
Teddy Wayne's Unpopular Proverbs: Brevity. For Thanksgiving.
Cruel nicknames for overweight vampires.
Passages from the short list for this year's Literary Review's 2009 bad sex in fiction award.
The uncollected stories of JD Salinger collected.
The Pop-Up Book of Phobias.
"A man and a woman lie in bed at night in the short hour between kid sleep and parent sleep, turning down page corners as they read. She is leafing through a fashion magazine, he through a cookbook." Gopnik on Why we use cookbooks.
"That's why we like all the things that we assume have no limits and, therefore, no end. It's a way of escaping thoughts about death. We like lists because we don't want to die." Der Spiegel interviews Umberto Eco, who has curated The Infinity of Lists, a current exhibition at The Louvre.
"I wouldn't choose it as a font for St. Agnes Church even as a joke. Every time I go by, my vacation is, for a moment, ruined." Mistakes in typography grate the purists
"Sorry folks, the most evident way of doing something is typically the way that I do it." Frank Chimero owns up.
So you know, how to write a great novel
"Conversation is more the nuts and bolts of hardware retail than actual nuts and bolts." Sweet Juniper's Jim Griffioen on his favorite hardware store, Detroit's Busy Bee Hardware.
The Women of Bauhaus.
"It was testament to the power of print. And to the fact that old media still has a few bullets in its gun." We'll Order Now What They Ordered Then, by KG.
"When 'The Wire' gained popularity in Great Britain, we were contacted by a London-based journalist who proposed a job swap." Two crime reporters swap beats and wrote about the experience about it over at Crime: A Tale of Two Cities. Via MeFi.
"By the time the author finished his lunch, he had become a multi-millionaire." Mandership posts by Artemy Lebedev don't show up very often but they're welcome when they do. Browse archives.
In this online age, writing correctly can be very difficult. Fortunately the Fake AP Stylebook is at your command with great tips like "In research papers, comic books should be cited thusly: 'This was from the most kick-ass issue of The Punisher EVER!!!'"
The winners have been posted from A Journey Round My Skull's first ever bookplate contest, From the Library of the Evil Orchid. Great work all round.
For the next time you're trying to spell something over the phone: the Nearly Anacrophonic Phonetic Alphabet, which "hews much more closely to the basic idea of anacrophony than any other phonetic alphabet of which we are aware." Thanks Everett.
Tonight, 71 years to the minute, listen to the radio broadcast that panicked people all over the country, Orson Welles' War of the Worlds.
A Sam Weber illustrated Lord of the Flies is due out in December. Cha-ching.
Heed it well, young costumed beggars.
"I realised that my own way was in impoverishment, in lack of knowledge and in taking away, in subtracting rather than in adding." On this day in 1958, CP hero Samuel Beckett's "Krapp's Last Tape" was first performed.
John Irving starts writing a novel with the last line and other insights shared in this interview with the New Statesman. Hmm, really? Case in point from APFOM, "O God -- please give him back! I shall keep asking You." Via LHB.
Related to the last, John Moe is Field Tester.
"I know I could get counseling or medication to get this whole megalomania thing under control but, again, there are so many opportunities for joy." John Moe interviews Dr. Cruelty regarding the supervillain sense of humor.
Related to the last. "Nitsche, however, rejected the Neue Grafik, or Swiss International Style, that drew nourishment from the Bauhaus legacy, referring to it as 'a little too cold for our uses,' and stayed 'pretty much with the classical typefaces.' He insists that 'I really never went outside of my love for Didot.'" Amen. The Reluctant Modernist by Steven Heller. A must-read.
Alfred Nobel "had a lifelong fear of being buried alive, and in his will he left instructions to have his arteries cut after death, just to be sure."
Book City Jackets edition no. 2.
Candygram #2: Jackpot by John Gruber.
"Do not send one-word emails of 'thanks.' Thanks." From the brand-spanking new Bobulate.
A Review Of The Photography In My Gynecologist's Office, by Kyria Abrahams.
150 years ago tonight, on October 16, 1859, John Brown and twenty-one other men launched an attack on the Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Excellent analysis and a revision of conventional historical wisdom by Karen Whitman. Must read, for history dorks.
On the Length of Subtitles in Many Old, Rare and Antiquarian Books Or, the Custom of Publishers of olde to Load the title page with a Reader's Digest condensed version of the Contents so complete that when finished perusing one's need to Read the Actual Book is obviated and further Exploration Unnecessary.
The Grammar Nerd Corrective Label Pack.
Whoops, meant to post this a couple days ago, when we talked about it at Make Think in Memphis. Zadie Smith reading Frank O'Hara's "Animals." From our quite accidental Verse By Voice project.
"Every day for one hundred days (from October 30, 2008 to February 6, 2009) I picked a paint chip out of a bag and responded to it with a short writing. I have selected my favorite forty, titling each writing with the number of the day it was written (out of 100) and the name of the color from that day's paint chip."
Roger is right, books do furnish a life.
For October, by JSM and friends, Candygrams.
There once was a site on the net... The Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form.
News that, thanks to the success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, more literary monster mashups are in store, including Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Little Women and Werewolves.
"Thinking that you might be talking about a different 'Well of Cantankerous Souls,' or that the dungeon might have recently become vacant, we sent our intern Trevor to scout out the location..." Adventure Capital by Matthew Baldwin. Yeah, the credit markets are a bitch right now.
"My Mother was a preacher until the cops shut her down." How's that for an opening sentence? Narrative Magazine has awarded Maud Newton its annual fiction prize for an excerpt from When the Flock Changed. Sweet.
For BB. From the prog rock ice cream shoppe: flavors inspired by a certain Canadian power trio, by Matt Bull.
The next book for Infinite Summer is Dracula, with a trio of excellent guides. Perfect weather for it in Chicago today. Get on it.
"Eclecticism was a viable and intelligent decision. While consistent design for a series of related books makes good strategic sense, these books were bound together by the editors' judgment." Covering the Good Books by Steven Heller.
I had the dream again.
What if there was physical proof that the Super Mario Bros mythology existed a long time ago on a lost chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean? The Excavation of Mushroom Island.
A scan of Vladimir Nabokov's notes about a translation of The Metamorphosis.
Umberto Eco on the lost art of handwriting.
"Our profitability has been a real drag on our valuation," said Mr. Fried. Big, exciting news for our office mates. Congrats guys.
Lusting after this. John M. Carrera's Pictorial Webster's, a short-run, hand-crafted volume of classic dictionary engravings reborn in a fine-press edition. It looks positively amazing. Here's a detailed video on the project and a chance to win one from Chronicle Books. Thanks for the tip to Anthony Drehfal, editor of Block & Burin, highly recommended.
Spelling mistakes that even smart people make.
KV's first public reading of Breakfast of Champions, three years before it was published, on May 4, 1970 at the 92nd Street Y in NYC. Do I need to say anything more?
"I theorize that everyone has what I call an inconvenience threshold (IT), a point at which something is so annoying that it actually galvanizes them into action."
Back to School with Rosecrans in the NYT.
Sci-fi from 1752! Voltaire's Micromegas.
Infinite Summer's end.
"Below we have selected 20 phrases that may grate on the ear. It's not a definitive list. It couldn't be: he has published five novels, each around 500 pages long, and the arguments over which are the worst bits will go on for a while." The Telegraph picks Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown's 20 worst sentences.
This fall might see the end of the Twilight phenomenon as angels are the new vampires. And with Wings of Desire coming out on Blu-ray in a couple of months, it's perfect timing (what teen doesn't love Wim Wenders?).
"Kill the pig! Slash its throat! Drink its blood!" On this day in 1954 Wiillam Golding's Lord of the Flies was published after being rejected by 21 publishers.
The anthology I anxiously await every year and pre-order about three months early has finally been released: The Best American Crime Reporting 2009. If you need me, I'll be hiding out back, sneaking reads.
"Making love became something they did, like bowling or playing tennis. Then it became everything. Tennis and bowling were subordinate." Key words with Peter and Jane Part 1 by Amy at Story blog.
"Are You There God? It's Me, a Sexy Vampire." In case Claire's new young-adult novel doesn't sell here are her backup ideas.
Related to the last. Letters of Note is a great resource and impossible to stop reading. Just one more...
"Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I need, so you should use your discretion." For Matt, If Architects had to work like Web Designers.
About four years ago Charlie Hopper got the idea that he should try to write a song and see if he could sell it to Nashville. So far he hasn't. Mopping Up the Blood, Dispatch #1 from a McSweeney's columnist-contest winner.
"It rarely takes more than a page to recognize that you're in the presence of someone who can write, but it only takes a sentence to know you're dealing with someone who can't." Josh Olson in The Voice.
A literary term I wasn't familiar with until just a second ago: the cozy mystery, a type of story "which includes a bloodless crime and contains very little violence, sex, or coarse language."
We Made This on the special edition do it yourself covers for Douglas Coupland's new novel Generation A.
FotA Fuzzy Gerdes unboxing An Off Year.
KG's got a nice piece on a local 16 year old crime blogger with autism over at The Outfit.
ReadyMade digs through their archives and finds copies of Apartment Life from the mid-70s.
Scents and the City.
I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door.
Ikea and The Font War.
With Andy's Anagram Solver, my name becomes "Island Worshipper," and the wife's becomes "'Be congruent,' lulls Josh."
Long read of the day, One Rogue Wave.
Mapping Hutt space, Star Wars: The Essential Atlas.
Granola bars for me next road trip for sure, What's inside a Slim Jim.
"Rockin' It, Frat-Party Style: A Short Story Geared to College Students Written By a 30-Something Author. Awesome. That author is Mike Sacks, who has provided regular Field-Tests for us, including this journey with ancient Icelanders to Greenwood Mississippi.
"After gym class, Bella heads to the office and sees Edward trying to change biology classes. She thinks it's impossible that someone can dislike her so much. I don't like her. She brags too much." Dan's blogging his reading of Twilight.
A glossary of screenwriting and filmmaking terms.
Johnny Dee's favorite one-star reviews from Amazon.
The staff at The Onion A.V. Club writes individual pieces about Art We Tried Too Late, including my lovely wife's disinterest in Harry Potter. Take that, BB and MS.
Yay! Pre-order our officemates' new book, Rework by 37signals. We know how much effort went into it. Guaranteed to be great.
"I live and travel to eat. Simple as that." And lucky for us, take pictures. The Ulterior Epicure.
"The second most common approach is what we'll call the 'I hate stuff and want to write about it,' column." Results from McSweeney's Columnist Contest.
Four days in North Korea.
Related to the last: If you like creepy tunnels under Red Hook, H.P. Lovecraft has a story for you.
"See, I don't really trust you until we talk a little shit and then I see your bookshelf." Rands is The Book Stalker.
BBC correspondent Justin Webb on returning to the UK after 8 years of living in the US.
Metroid's Samus Aran Speaks Out About Gay Marriage.
Hey Oscar Wilde! It's Clobbering Time!!! Page after page of authors or literary characters drawn by illustrators and comic artists. I especially love the latest additions by Scott Campbell.
For the ladies, fascinating article on Laura Wilder, author of Little House on the Prairie, Wilder Women.
Big thanks to our Guest Editor Henry Cline for all his great work here in July. Now that we've reached the end of the month, Henry wanted to share a kind of parting gift with us: the launch of his Radio First Termer Restoration Project, which is telling the story and restoring audio tapes of a pirate radio station that broadcasted out of a Saigon brothel during the Vietnam War, hosted by an anonymous Air Force sergeant known only as "Dave Rabbit."
Related to the last, the Citizen Kane of corporate folktales, the mighty, mighty House of Wigs by Joshua Allen. For God's sake, click on the little arrows that mean "more." See you in a couple hours.
"Unable to convince her husband of his mentor's treachery, she fled under cover of darkness to Business School." From Grant Munroe's Corporate Folktales: The Tale of the CTO's Apprentice's Wife. See also How the Operations Analyst Slew the Monster of the 37th Floor Server Room.
"'You know, there are people at the office who think I got this job by sleeping with you. Isn't that horrible?' I said during a meal. He looked shocked and then laughed. 'Do me a favor. Please don't deny it.'" Carol Joynt's great piece about being one of Walter Cronkite's staff reporters. Remembering Old Iron Pants.
The New Yorker's Nicholas Baker's excellent piece "Kindle and the Future of Reading."
The recently discovered coded message postcards sent between spies in the 1950s by suspected double agent Graham Mitchell during the Cold War.
KG on Allan Seager and the true story of perhaps the most ripped-off plot in literary history.
"In a twist that the master satirist would have appreciated, Kurt Vonnegut continues his posthumous career despite the apparent impediments to his productivity."
A couple opinions from Artemy Lebedev. Amen.
Frank McCourt was Daniel Radosh's high-school English teacher. Check the video bit too.
Not exactly sure what this is, but very intrigued and eager to see it launched in two days: We Are The Friction, described as "an international illustration and short fiction cage match between 24 writers and illustrators (in handy book form)." Via Byrdhouse.
"Well, I've sold the paper to the Chinese," says former publisher of The Onion, T. Herman Zweibel.
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.
"Overmind: a single, non-material consciousness composed of the consciousnesses of a large number of beings." From the latest listings of the OED Science Fiction Citations site. Via @H_FJ.
"Have you ever experienced that eerie feeling of a thought popping into your head as if from nowhere, with no clue as to why you had that particular idea at that particular time?" There's science behind that, really interesting read, Disorderly genius: How chaos drives the brain.
This month marked the publication of two great new books by FotA and multi-year Field-Tested Books contributors, Mike Sacks and Nathan Rabin. Mike's is And Here's the Kicker: Conversations with Humor Writers on Their Craft and the Industry and Nathan's is the memoir The Big Rewind. Both are hilarious and come highly recommended.
"In April 2009, we sent a personal, handwritten letter to each of the 467 households in the small Irish village of Cushendall. We hoped these unsolicited letters would prompt neighbourly discussion, spreading across the town, promoting community curiosity." Mysterious Letters.
"If you find yourself in the sole company of graphic designers, this book will likely address every professional subject that might arise, giving you enough information to laugh at an inside joke or nod in knowing agreement at a thoughtful reference." Enter to win your free copy of Graphic Design, Referenced over at idsgn.
Now and Then, Sex Still Sells.
More greatness from the Infinite Summer project, KG, DFW, a pulley and a big load of bricks.
"You can't do that with glass, can you?" Apparently, you can. Still not so much for me, thanks.
Things Kirsten Giebutowski has written in cover letters. Fab.
"LEVEL 4: A Denny's restaurant near a high school right after a school play ends." The 9 Levels of Hell For The Living.
FotA Rob Walker has just launched Significant Objects, wherein writers invent stories about objects purchased from thrift stores and garage sales and distributed by the project's curators, then later sold again on eBay with each piece's new back story.
"If a book is lost, then someone will write it again, eventually." A Working Library Reading Note on With Borges.
How McDonald's conquered France.
"If they need high resolution images, make sure you send them 72 dpi thumbnails." Salt Publishing's advice on how to take a bad author photo.
Related to MS' post below: one of the best This American Life episodes, featuring Kurt Eichenwald who talks about the ADM price fixing scandal. The Informant, the book, is also comes highly recommended.
"I don't want to admit to being so superficial as to structure an entire Internet-wide event around a catchy title ... so I won't."
Matthew chats with the LA Times about the Infinite Summer project.
On this date in 1613, The Globe burned.
Zulkey's interview with Kasper Hauser, the San Francisco-based comedy group you've likely heard on This American Life and/or All Things Considered.
"Sadly, Nurse Mosconi was unable to keep away from the baby and within seconds her heart was broken."
John Moe's Pop-Song Correspondences, Part XX. Also here's John field-testing Carver's WWTAWWTAL.
Fiction's Dirty Little Secret, KG's first Infinite Summer post is a beauty.
Have you bookmarked Jan Chipchase's Future Perfect yet?
"Hold on, I've seen this before: How Star Wars, Star Trek, The Matrix, and Harry Potter are actually the same movie."
Warming up for the 21st. How to Read Infinite Jest.
Giving you lots of things to lose sleep over for the past four decades: The Top 10 Most Absurd Time Magazine Covers of the Past 40 Years. Not included and definitely not as scary, but my pick for worst: 2006's Person of the Year.
"radiidin: 'non-holiday, a time allegedly a holiday but actually so much a burden because of work and preparations that it is a dreaded occasion; especially when there are too many guests and none of them help.'" Arika Okrent's 10 favorite invented words. Via Gapers Block.
I Am Poseidon! God of the Sea! I Also Teach Water Aerobics On Saturdays, by Colin Nissan.
On last post for Bloomsday. Geoff wonders what would happen if you fed all of Ulysses into a 3D printer?
Have just discovered the work of Sue Bentley, author of the Magic Kitten, Magic Puppy, and Magic Ponies series, all of which have the brightest, most glittery covers ever. They're hypnotic.
For Bloomsday. The man himself in Lego.
For Bloomsday. "A short animated riff on Joyce's Ulysses, in which actual pages from the book serve as frames, with figures painted over text. Joyce himself provides the vocal track."
For Bloomsday. "Mr. Joyce manages to give the effect of unedited human minds, drifting aimlessly along from one triviality to another, confused and diverted by memory, by sensation and by inhibition, is, in short, perhaps the most faithful X-ray ever taken of the ordinary human consciousness." Edmund Wilson's July 5, 1922 review of Ulysses for TNR. "Mr. Joyce has told the whole truth."
For Bloomsday. Ulysses, selectively annotated with images. Fab.
For Bloomsday. "In 1924, 1 went to the office of His Master's Voice in Paris to ask them if they would record a reading by James Joyce from Ulysses." -Sylvia Beach.
For Bloomsday. Pitch 'n' Putt with Jim Joyce and Sam Beckett, a short film by Bórd Scannán na hEireann.
"If The New York Times ever strikes you as an abstruse glut of antediluvian perorations..." You could look it up.
"Meanwhile, in the Web world, I've pretty much heard/seen enough about steampunk. And I don't need to see any more pictures of unlikely things made of Legos." Zulkey's interview with Rob Walker of the NY Times' Consumed, Murketing, and stealing the whole show in Objectified.
Regarding the Infinite Summer project, what to eat before a really big meal.
"'Chapter eight,' he said. 'No, wait. Chapter nine.' When I left a few minutes later, he was on chapter ten. By the weekend, he had finished the entire work, a fourteen-hundred-page novel about foot fetishists in Malaysia." FotA Ben Greenman shares a very personal story about the dangers of Lit Juicing within the book community.
"When the other try-outs began to arrive, I was alternately relieved (I wasn't the fattest or most socially awkward person there) and terrified (the presence of so many bad haircuts and shabby gaits was a guarantee I was up against some brilliant titans of trivia)." FotA and Field-Tested Books contributor Leonard Pierce travelled to Chicago this week to try out for Jeopardy.
For DW: Zulkey interviews Jennifer Koppelman Hutt of Whatever, Martha! fame.
5000 Pages of Wikipedia's featured articles printed and bound.
7. :-X only w/ m8. God Texts the 10 Commandments by Jamie Quatro.
Today marks the official publication of CP alum Dave Reidy's short story collection Captive Audience. We've all been reading the advance copy and enjoying each and every page. A well-earned, hearty congratulations, Dave.
"Defection is daunting. So is starting a new, free life." Escaping North Korea.
Now available for pre-order: The Onion A.V. Club's Inventory: 16 Films Featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls, 10 Great Songs Nearly Ruined by Saxophone, and 100 More Obsessively Specific Pop-Culture Lists, which features the writing of numerous FotA, including one I'm married to.
"Admitting it is the first step toward reading it." KG joins Matthew Baldwin, TMN and others in tackling DFW's Infinite Jest a bit at a time, in public. Infinite Summer.
Author and fellow Edgewater resident Aleksandar Hemon on the Chicago locales that influenced his latest book.
"If you arrived late for Terminator Salvation and missed the name of the director, at what moment would you realize that you were not watching a Mike Leigh film?" Another great Anthony Lane movie review.
"So, you're in love with one of your friends, but she has a boyfriend and probably wouldn't have sex with you anyway." One time only, easy solution.
MS and I can't stop laughing at this.
"The people and the organizations that really flourish prize autonomy." Amen. A chat between two of our favorite people, Alissa Walker interviews Dan Pink.
"So you're sitting there with the engine screaming its head off, and your ears bleeding, and you're doing only 23mph because that's about the top speed, and you're thinking things can't get any worse, and then they do because you run over a small piece of grit." Really great review of the new Honda Insight.
KG weighs in on the Notre Dame/Obama controversy.
"Because it is used in every e-mail address and many tweets, you might be forgiven for thinking that the remarkably common symbol @, which English-speakers know as the 'at sign,' but Italians call a 'snail,' and south Slavs know as a 'monkey,' is a fairly recent invention."
The Reanimation Library is a small, independent library based in Brooklyn. It is a collection of books that have fallen out of mainstream circulation. Outdated and discarded, they have been culled from thrift stores, stoop sales, and throw-away piles across the country and given new life as resource material for artists, writers, and other cultural archeologists.
So that's it. A fascinating article in The Atlantic by Joshua Wolf Shenk on what makes us happy.
"A man, unexcited by his own possessions and increasingly confused as to why he collected all these things in the first place, decides to hire someone else to live amidst his books and clothes, DVDs and framed photographs..."
Okay FS readers, today is Buy Indie Day and we here at CP are STRONGLY ( I can use all caps cause JC is in London and can't yell at me until like 6 hours from now) encouraging every one of our readers and their friends to go out and support your local independent bookstore. So go forth and purchase my friends. You might even win a prize for it. Email me at michele at coudal dot com and let me know where you made your purchase and we'll pick three random winners and send you a Field Tested Book and Poster.
FotA and Field-Tested Books contributor Randy "The Ethicist" Cohen has just started a new project for the NY Times where he offers his ethical analysis of the daily news: The Moral of the Story.
"The importance of Beck's rectilinear, topologic 1933 diagram is widely recognized and praised by graphic designers. Many wonder why Beck never extended his ideas outside London. The answer is, he did - to the nearest major subway network to London; Paris." Harry Beck: The Paris Connection. Via NotCot.
More info on this Friday's Buy Indie Day. Support your local independent bookstore!
So great, JJ Abrams on The Magic of Mystery.
Getting caught up with Jan Chipchase's Future Perfect. Always insightful and frequently surprising.
Related to the last, "There is no backspace on this thing." Ben's incredible play-by-play commentary from the Vit/Potts Layer Tennis Match a couple weeks ago.
Ben Greenman's novel Please Step Back is due out next week. We already admired the book's cover and now here's a story about a cover of a different sort. Swamp Dogg performs his own version of a song taken from the novel.
"But somehow, when Lindsay is just chatting with reporters, her lips spin silky verse like William Carlos Williams emceeing at Lawrence Ferlinghetti's birthday jam."
LiLoKu: The Rime of the Teenage Drama Queen. Brilliance, by our own KG for FSG.
"On a mundane morning in late summer in Paris, the impossible happened. The Mona Lisa vanished."
"All photos posted to the Free Verse project must include lines from a favorite poem written off the page in an unexpected or ephemeral way." Sweet.
Ebert sticks it to O'Reilly.
The Minister on the ambitious and beautiful St. John's Benedictine Abbey & University Bible Project.
"If he - I mean the judge, not King Oedipus - had said that he had lent the car to an Australian government secret agent whom he could not name without rendering him vulnerable to attack by terrorists, Marcus Einfeld might still be enjoying his place at the top of the heap, admired by all."
"As one researcher put it, being somewhat narcissistic is like driving a huge SUV: You're having a great time, even while you hog the road, suck up extra resources and put other drivers at higher risk." A Field Guide to Narcissism. Via Look At This.
"I've always figured the only way I could finish a book and get a plot was just to keep making it longer and longer until something happens--you know, until it finds its own plot." Terry Southern interview with Algren for The Paris Review in 1955.
Local note. Nelson Algren 100th Birthday at Steppenwolf tonight. See you there.
If Homer's Odyssey was written on Twitter.
TDRB flips through Stephen Bayley's Cars: Freedom, Style, Sex, Power, Motion, Colour, Everything.
Interesting brief interview with former editor Christina Kelly about Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love's cover feature in Sassy 17 years ago.
Great cover art for Ben Greenman's new novel Please Step Back due in May from Melville House. Ben recently did live commentary for us in a Layer Tennis match and blew pretty much everyone away.
TMN's favorite thing about the recession.
"They had lived with a bottle of Chianti between them, the scent hanging like a little purple veil between the roof and the million-candled carnival beyond --the window lights of the late office workers, piled one upon another above the river, the tavern lights that had bloomed like lilies touching each to each across the city's lawless deeps, the auto lights in one long forevering curve down miles and miles of boulevard where one dark driver after the other bore down the streets of the big night world..." Sweet Jesus, an unpublished Algren story in today's Reader, "'Entrapment."
"Did you know there's a secret daily flight from the United States to Cuba? Or, that in 1966, the U.S. government smashed a bacteria-laden light bulb inside the New York subway system?" Find out more in the Book of Secrets.
Lunch read. My Manhattan Project. How Michael Osinski helped build the bomb that blew up Wall Street.
Turns out it probably isn't wise to turn to Voltaire the next time you're saying something controversial, as he probably wouldn't defend to the death your right to say it after all.
"They didn't realise that nothing upstairs had been touched, this was how I worked, up to the elbows in papers, paints, maps, stones." A great personal essay by writer Iain Sinclair on living in the same house for 40 years. Via I Like.
John Hodgman judges today's second round match in the Tournament of Books. There's still time to place a bet and help us buy a truckload of new books for underprivileged kids.
If you enjoyed Ben Greenman's commentary for last Friday's Layer Tennis match, we highly recommend pre-ordering a copy of his upcoming new book Please Step Back. Also don't miss the book's theme song, recorded by funk legend Swamp Dogg (find it toward the bottom of the page).
"This morning, I couldn't find my way into work. I drove the roads I thought would get me there but ended up on the edge of a barren field. The sky was dark." Today's Layer Tennis commentator Ben Greenman on that madness we hear so much about this time of year.
"He's an Irish lord and she's a long lost lady her parents thought died in a boating accident." Awesomest book discussion ever.
Stephen Hawking's bedtime stories.
Which Words Should Be Capitalized in a Headline? We're with Danny on this one.
The High Bouncing Lover.
This has to be the headline of the day.
Related to the last. Rands on understanding your nerd which includes a handy section on "Advanced Nerd Tweakage."
"In retrospect, I'm sure he was asking if I had something I wanted him to autograph; there's no way that he was trying to "score" in front of a group of complete strangers." Funny story by FoTA (and eventual Grammy nominee) John Anderson about the day he sort of met Bob Dylan.
"I may be a thief and a liar," he says in beguiling Italian-accented French. "But I am going to tell you a true story." The Untold Story of the World's Biggest Diamond Heist.
"...she asked her husband if, instead of 'that chop suey you're writing,' he might not try 'sensible books that people can understand.'" On this day in 1923 JJ started FW.
The White House briefing room seating chart.
Vanity Fair's utterly fascinating look behind the scenes of the making of the movie The Godfather, The Godfather Wars
Updike and Cheever on Cavett.
Revised Merit Badges by Rosecrans Baldwin.
A sneak peek at Madrid's 2016 Olympic bid book.
Big thanks to Nathan and the really nice folks over at Crush + Lovely for becoming a matching sponsor for the fifth annual Tournament of Books. Sponsors match up to $500.00 of wagers placed and it all goes to buy books for kids. Why don't you become a sponsor too? Just email me at michele at coudal dot com and get your name up on the list.
"Learning to read is all about encountering words you don't understand. Unintelligibility in a text is a reason to form community." Junot Diaz, reading and answering questions in Seattle.
S/FJ describes who is on Twitter.
Snapshot revisited: The miner and the copper. So great.
Rick Poynor and Adrian Shaughnessy found it at the movies again.
"Silence and the inevitable don't really know." Clifford, by Jack Shedd. Bitter and sweet.
Related. My very highest recommendation, Norman Maclean's Young Men and Fire, the story of the 1949 Mann Gulch Fire and the story of a writer and scholar at the end of his life.
MS and DW's Australian fire photos resemble the descriptions in one of the most terrifying, exciting books I've ever read: Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894. Also related: the Great Peshtigo Fire of 1871, America's largest natural disaster that few people have ever heard of (because Chicago happened to burn down that same night).
On this day in 1926 Ernest Hemingway ended his contract with his first publisher through some creative double-dealing.
Esquire magazine covers going all the way back to 1933.
"Updike was congenitally unembarrassable and we are the beneficiaries of that." Amis on Updike.
Interesting story about FBI agent Keith Mularski, who spent three years working undercover with identity thieves.
After posting Pride and Prejudice and Zombies last week, I learned that this isn't the only remake of the book. There's also Pride and Promiscuity: The Lost Sex Scenes of Jane Austen.
ABR's 100 best first lines from novels.
"6. Depend Upon Your Own Personal Exertions." Even the chapter titles are inspiring. The Art of Money Getting or Golden Rules For Making Money by P.T. Barnum, 1880. Via Gilbert Lee.
What could turn out to be the greatest book of all time is set to publish in April: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, "features the original text of Jane Austen's beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action."
February 2 is Buy a Newspaper Day.
"While my great grandfather hid in a rain barrel, a Ukrainian villager raped my great grandmother. Some time later, my grandfather was born." Now that's a lede.
"Family Ties" by Z. So great.
Scenes from an Alternate Universe Where Saved by the Bell, Rather Than Law and Order, Became the Dominant Television Franchise for a Generation.
"You are not the only person in the world with high standards and refined taste. You are not the only consumer with foresight, charm and, if we may be so bold, lovely hair." Who cares how the chips taste, they had me with the copy. Real Chips.
"KL: Old king learns too late that two of his kids only wanted power. He and most main characters die. One just gets his eyes gouged out." Shakespeare plays synopsized into 140 characters for Twitter.
Congrats to author Neil Gaiman on winning the prestigious Newbery Medal for his fantastic book The Graveyard Book. You can watch him read the entire book aloud here. And here is what he Twittered when he found out. Well said.
Rest in peace Mr. Updike.
"One Woman's Confession: I Hate Suburbia," an essay from the September 1965 issue of Lady's Circle about life in the famous Levittown area of Long Island.
"Barkajak: noun; A person who yells answers to game show contestants on TV." Found a strange word? Look up the definition over at the Addictionary.
"The alphabet isn't dead; it just has a lot more company." Ellen Lupton on visual vs. verbal writing.
"Zombie Round" voting is open for The Morning News Tournament of Books. If your favorite book dies you don't want to think, "Damn, maybe I should have done something."
For KG. Walker Percy wrote a letter to The Boss. And The Boss wrote back. Nice.
Today's front pages from 73 countries.
Our copy (178/1000) of Things Our Friends Have Written on the Internet 2008 by Ben Terret and Russell Davies has just arrived and it's fab. We agree with everything Jason Kottke had to say about this project including that we wish we had thought of it first.
An example of when a columnist has writer's block and is up against a deadline: "CVS Receipts Are Too Long."
"The best thing about living in the White House would be running around like a maniac." Yet more student advice for the president-elect.
"There was a time when this newspaper - and many others across the south -- acted with gross neglect by largely ignoring the unfairness of segregated schools, buses, restaurants, washrooms, theaters and other public place." The Meridian Star apologizes. Amen. Via The Utne Reader.
Andrew Wyeth, Famed and Infamous Artist, Dies at 91. Kimmelman obit in the Times.
Consumed columnist and Buying In author Rob Walker is now doing free classroom "visits" via Skype.
The Chicago Crime Scenes Project, stories of what happened where and photos of what's there now.
In preparation for Tuesday, something to watch at lunch today. January 20, 1961.
Illustrations by Edward Gorey, The Recently Deflowered Girl; The Right Thing to Say on Every Dubious Occasion.
"I'll be putting on my skunk suit at other garden parties, now that I've been excessed from the Voice." Nat Hentoff gets the axe. Wow.
The rise of cell-phone novels in -- where else? -- Japan.
Fascinating article over at Wired, One Hacker's Audacious Plan to Rule the Black Market in Stolen Credit Cards.
To go along with JC's Apollo 8 post below, from today's NYT, Not-So-Lonely Planet.
sshhh! this is a working library. Mandy Brown rocks. Bookmarked.
"All of life is six to five against." On this day in '46 Damon Runyon's ashes were scattered over Broadway. Highly recommended, Jimmy Breslin's Damon Runyon: A Life.
A look inside Marje Volezang's Eat Love, a book about her experiences as an "eating designer."
"Come in, but then go back out again." How Germans really see English ad slogans. Thanks Louis.
"Regulars are your friends-by-default, the ones you hope will recognize you in a dire emergency, when, say, you're choking on a four-dollar piece of Starbucks cheesecake and hoping your family won't remember you as 'the dead guy who paid too much for dessert.'" Rosecrans Baldwin is that guy over there with the yellow legal pads.
Three posts that I think should be required reading if you're looking for some context about the death of print (or how information is flowing today, and it's not from paper) 1. The Newspaper Industry and the Arrival of the Glaciers, 2. Content and Its Discontents, and 3. Change Happens.
"This is my statement. Holden Caulfield, Catcher in the Rye." On this date in 1980.
From the July 1948 issue of the The Atlantic, Pearl Harbour in Retrospect.
"A friend once suggested I order a 'water on the rocks', and not realizing it was a joke I ordered it. The bartender stared at me with a confused look. I stared back with a red face." Oh. Via Design Crush.
20 signs you don't want that web design project. From Z who states, "all incidents taken from life."
So you know. Take all these "so you knows" with a grain of salt. Merlin's Real Advice Hurts.
When I was growing up, we were lucky to have a cabin in the woods. It was rustic, not fancy but a place to relax and come together as a family. Times have changed and cabins are not what they used to be.
There's at least 25 ways to blog, and to think I thought there was only one way.
"Instead, the amount of data generated will rise exponentially as we create a constantly expanding record of the present, swiftly overwhelming our memories of the past." Things.
Pop-up books from the 1930s.
Bookmarked, The Designer's Review of Books.
Finalists for The Literary Review's Annual Bad Sex in Fiction award. And congrats to the winner Rachel Johnson, you earned it.
Tangentially related to the last, commonly made suggestions about commonly made errors, and more importantly, non-errors, "those usages people keep telling you are wrong but which are actually standard in English." Which is exactly the sort of attitude up with which I will not put.
"Or like the 'Thai style risotto,' a viscous gruel that's served with a clump of pork belly and intended, perhaps, for the Siamese twin of Oliver Twist." Really great restaurant review. Via MeFi.
"Each month or so, we release a new issue of 'i left this here for you to read.- We then leave them in public places (such on park benches, on buses, in airports and dentists' offices...) for anyone to take--free of charge." From artist Tim Devin, i left this here for you to read.
Star Wars: A New Heap Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Death Star. John Power's academic essay. Over the top? Sure. Fun? You betcha.
"I could not tell you the last time I heard 'O Canada' sung in public since I do not attend many hockey games." Kate Beaton on Canadian patriotism.
"It is, however, a sluttishness probably to be expected of someone who had to make a living after he discovered that the novels he reviewed were a lot better than the novels he wrote." -John Leonard. Via TMN.
FactCheck.org's coverage of Elliott Blaufuss's 2008 Halloween party.
Pentagram's redesign of the "luxury lifestyle magazine of the Harvard elite," 02138, was just about to go to press when the publisher pulled the plug. So they posted the entire issue online. The interface isn't too swell but the mag sure looks great. Thanks Kurt.
"On the morning of November 2, 1859 -Election Day- George Kyle, a merchant with the Baltimore firm of Dinsmore & Kyle, left his house with a bundle of ballots tucked under his arm. Kyle was a Democrat. As he neared the polls in the city's Fifteenth Ward, which was heavily dominated by the American Party, a ruffian tried to snatch his ballots." The New Yorker takes a look at How we used to vote. Via MeFi.
FoTA (and more significantly, FoST) Rick Kogan has written a beautiful tribute to Studs.
Joshua Green Allen's Fireland turns
thirteen years old today. We worship the guy (remember The House of Wigs?) and we carry on living just for updates to his Twitter feed and new journal Wiretap Follies.
Great moment in typos: Cambridge University's Parking Lot.
"It may interest Dad to know that when Mom implemented the 'Sleeping in Separate Beds' initiative, on September 4, it was not, as she claimed at the time, because she suffers from restless-legs syndrome." Mom's And Dad's Campaign Statements, by Gregory Beyer.
Local note. Friend of the agency Scott Smith reads from his novel Like Dizzy Gillespie's Cheeks tonight at The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square.
"I wouldn't know what to do with a dollar even if I could remember which pants it was in." Nice story on E. B. White's "Hymn to the Barn," which was published on this date in 1952.
ADC profile of Robert Brownjohn.
So you know. It's Not Its.
Author Neil Gaiman is on tour for his latest book, The Graveyard Book. At each stop on the tour, he's filmed himself reading a chapter of the book and posted them online. You can watch the videos for each chapter here. Brilliant.
William Faulkner's "splendid failure," The Sound and the Fury was published on this day in 1929.
Chris Glass' notes to the future. Good stuff, we could all hold hands more and drink less soda.
Steven Heller and Lita Talarico's The Design Entrepreneur: Turning Graphic Design Into Goods That Sell, is a new book from SVA which includes a profile of CP. Thanks for that. Cha-ching.
Esquire's The 75 Books Every Man Should Read. "An unranked, incomplete, utterly biased list of the greatest works of literature ever published."
"I don't know. I didn't set out to do it. I just went up and made jokes, and people told me that I was an anxious, neurotic Jew. I didn't sit down and think, This is a good side of the street to work." NY Mag interview with Woody Allen.
The Guilfoile-Warner Papers are back at TMN and just in time I'd say.
"Now that there are no priests or philosophers left, artists are the most important people in the world. This is the only thing that interests me." Gordon Burn's smart overview of the career of Gerhard Richter. Mandatory.
Confused in the ways of love? Turn to the Mubai Mirror advice column. Ask the Sexpert, by Jil Wheeler.
As always, there's a fine line between "a contest" and "spec work," but this Penguin book cover design contest features some pretty impressive finalists.
The 50 Greatest Villains in Literature.
Artemy Lebedev's Mandership is published. Looks like it's only in Russian, but English speakers can find lots of common sense and uncommon opinions about design and creativity in the online archives.
Angela Landels' illustrations for a lovely series of paperbacks from Capuchin Classics.
So you know, 10 overused words in writing.
Rejected by 21 publishers and then greeted by lukewarm reviews, William Golding's first novel, The Lord of the Flies, was published on this day in 1954.
"The apocalyptic power of God has existed forever, and He's been restrained about using it, despite provocation. The apocalyptic power of science has existed only since 1945, and the A-bomb has been tried twice already." P. J. O'Rourke on God.
A diary for your whole life.
Steering Wheel. Paul Ford rules.
Embiggen your vocabulary with these totalistic cromulent words.
Very easy way to lose track of a couple of hours: Courthouse Confessions, Steven Hirsch's collection of photos and statements from people leaving NY courts.
FotA and Field-Tested Books contributor Ben Greenman's upcoming new book: Correspondences, which will serve as the starting point for The Postcard Project, wherein readers will help fill in blanks of the original book via postcards. How will that work? Ben will be at a reading tonight in NYC to explain it all.
So you know. Assuming you're not one of the lucky ones you might need this big list of hints for the apocalypse, including "Would You Save Your Family and Yourself, or Would You Die in the Flames?" and "How To be Invisible."
"The moment when one meets a book and knows, beyond shadow of doubt, that that book must be his - not necessarily now, but some time - is among the happiest excitements of the spirit." Christopher Morley's great essay "On Visiting Bookshops" from 1920. Via One Good Move.
Trailer for an Erich Weiss/House Industries film about Ed Rondthaler, proponent of simplified American spelling. Charming.
The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot annotated via hypertext. Awesome.
Steven Heller on Paul Rand's can.
Funny graffiti from the abandoned Michael Reese Hospital makes good use of a morbid old quote often attributed to either Tom Waits or Woody Allen, regularly used on gravestones, and even the inspiration for this great book.
Oldie but so very much a goodie, 300 love letters.
Related again. Solid copy writing is important but it ain't the only thing. Ahem. Helmut Krone. The Book.
Related to the last. "But we'd rather be less efficient and better. Instead of just efficient and not as good." Everything you need to know about how to write advertising copy can be found in these vintage Doyle Dane Bernbach print ads for Karmann Ghia.
THE, a quarterly magazine from The Future Laboratory.
"Many have argued that the signs ought to read 'ten items or fewer' instead of 'ten items or less.'" Tesco in the UK bows to good grammar. Bravo.
Favorite Signatures: From Ginsberg to Sedaris, writers talk about their most treasured signed copies of books.
I think I just had my moment of becoming a real Chicagoan, complete with a new found chip on my shoulder, by getting upset at this article on adjusting to life in New York: "City Fits, Eventually, for New Arrivals."
"When my father died, the woods were thirsty from summer. If you were going to make a campfire, you would hunt and hunt for kindling that dry." On Ways of Dealing With Tripping in Public by Crispin Best. More greatness from Eyeshot
"Dark! All-encompassing, eternal darkness! Human eyes cannot penetrate the stygian blackness of this unholy confection!" Selections From H.P. Lovecraft's Brief Tenure as a Whitman's Sampler Copywriter.
300 Love letters.
Sex and the semicolon.
John Steffen field tests our Field Tested Books Book. Thanks for that.
Where Is Bob?, Tales of an Absentee Manager. I've been following this since it started last week. It's a perfect use of the weblog format to tell a serialized story. Great writing and funny too. Bookmark.
"Mike Hummer had been a private detective so long he could remember Preparation A, his hair reminded everyone of a rat who'd bitten into an electrical cord, but he could still run faster than greased owl snot when he was on a bad guy's trail, and they said his friskings were a lot like getting a vasectomy at Sears." Winners have been chosen for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.
Socially and educationally, college really paid off for me, but I wholeheartedly agree with the WSJ, who says "For Most People, College Is a Waste of Time".
Dan Solomon asks, "Hey, you know who's still a douchebag?"
Fabulous, all 544 pages of Latin American Design from Taschen books is online.
"I try to explain how life is like discovering you've had the microwave set at defrost trying to make popcorn after three minutes of silence." Y Tu Yo Yo Ma Tambien by Jimmy Chen.
10 Oddest Travel Guides Ever Published. Not listed and perhaps not entirely related, but it reminded me of a favorite book: Round Ireland with a Fridge. Our Field-Tested Books Book would also serve as a fairly unique travel guide, too.
KG's piece from the Saturday Tribune on a new book by Simon Baatz about the Leopold and Loeb murders.
Jody Rosen's "Dude, You Stole My Article," about a plagiarizing alt-weekly in Texas.
"The language is so lugubrious, like Edward Gorey or Lemony Snicket. Every tile has something, a name or a place or a word that places it firmly in the past." I Like's visit to Postman's Park to look at plaques commemorating people who died saving others. Each one feels like a Decemberists song waiting to happen.
Our friends over at First Book, who we have had the pleasure of making donations to for every Field-Tested Books Book we've sold, have launched their own literary project: What Book Got You Hooked?
Now that you know what the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon is, you'll probably see some reference to it again later today.
Tangentially related to the last, a great story, Dear Monsieur Picasso.
"NBC News tried hard to find work for me, as a writer of radio newsbreaks, for example, but I wasn't very good at it. In the summer of 1958, they assigned me to the White House." Interesting, longish, personal NYer piece by Charles Van Doren with plenty of stories you didn't get in Quiz Show.
Admired yesterday at the bookstore, Goodnight Bush.
Interesting interview with designer Stefan Sagmeister. Thanks Jeff.
"Then the Child ventured forth from Israel and Palestine and stepped onto the shores of the Old Continent. In the land of Queen Angela of Merkel, vast multitudes gathered to hear his voice, and he preached to them at length." Funny piece of political satire by The Times' Gerard Baker.
Passages from the shortlisted selections for this year's Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Awards. Iain Hollingshead took home the top prize for his bewildering scene in Twentysomething. Here are some excerpts from previous years' winners.
"The country was bustling with construction, redevelopment, and euros. I stayed at the newly-restored Hotel Adlon, near the Brandenberg Gate pictured on the front of my $0.75 Dell paperback edition of le Carré..." Michael Bierut is a Field Tester and will be reading at our event in NYC Monday. Join us, won't you?
"Paul informs Lisa that he was having an affair and, for some reason, it's never brought up again. Lisa doesn't care. She's too focused on the murder charge." Fabulous reviews of Lifetime movies. Via TMN.
I Don't Have Time for Noncontroversial Art Exhibits.
Virginia Heffernan is "stumped by how to excerpt the language on message boards and blogs."
Great post by Rands, and tons of others, The Quirkbook. Mine is "Must quit all apps on Mac before leaving for the day."
"Arctic terns mate for life, unlike wives of zoology-department chairs..." Field Notes on the Arctic Tern, by Jon Methven.
Finalists for the David Foster Wallace Motivational Poster Competition.
Hail the Father of Symbol Signs, by Steven Heller.
I Was a Mad Man by William Drenttel.
A big congrats from everyone at the studio to former CP'er and Field-Tested Books founder, Dave Reidy, who just sold his first book, Captive Audience, which will be released next July by Ig Publishing.
Earlier this week, we complained about LG's improper use of an apostrophe in their Scarlet ads (TV's vs TVs). Then, this morning, we picked up a newspaper and saw that they have corrected the error. So once again, we find that our dedication to the maintaining the dignity of the English language for the good of humanity has paid off. You're welcome.
The Ghosts of My Friends is a book in which to capture inkblots created from the signatures of your friends.
"She never ruled out marriage, but her romances always seemed to end with flying vases and cab rides across town in an overcoat and nightgown to sleep at Frieda's or Violet's." How it turned out for the Peanuts gang. Completely brilliant. Via Waxy.
Bothering us around the table at lunch for some time whenever we see yet another ad for it, so here's a quick note to LG: if you're going to spend millions on your massive Scarlet ad campaign, it's probably wise to proof your copy before the launch. It's TVs, not TV's.
"There's not a jewelry store in this nation that doesn't have a picture of Doris Payne in the back room with her gray-haired self." An interesting article on Doris Payne, elegant jewel thief.
"I have just finished setting up the whole of Mr. Eliot's poem with my own hands --you see how my hand trembles." Virginia Woolf, typesetter.
Playing Balderdash With Ex-Girlfriends by Michael Nelson Price.
"There was no tone of thankfulness for having been spared to answer to their names, but rather a toll, and an unvoiced wish that they, too, had been among the missing." 145 years ago today.
Paper Cuts on a new book about Han van Meegeren, "a mediocre Dutch painter but a brilliant forger who, in the 1930s and early 1940s, painted six 'Vermeers.'"
"I've spent years cultivating the art of writing the way I talk, and you can't really 'speak' a semicolon out loud. (Maybe John Gielgud could, but I can't.)" Terry Teachout responds to Paul Collin's Death of the Semicolon piece.
"I just read your intro—great stuff, really. I just have a few minor changes/corrections. No big thing."
A moving day for Mr. Zeldman. The thing about Z is that he makes great, personal writing seem so easy, damn him.
The education of former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins via Warner Bros, cartoons. Really.
For Diane, here's what you're looking for. Our feature, Verse By Voice: Poetry After the Beep. Specifically, here's novelist Zadie Smith reading "Animals" by Frank O'Hara. Also, a new O'Hara collection has just been published and it was reviewed by William Logan in Sunday's NYTBR.
A great, lengthy interview from 1968 with Jean Shepard about The I, Libertine Hoax.
Ron Rosenbaum on catchphrases that should be thrown under the bus before they nuke the fridge.
"Lately I've had trouble underbaking my work. I think I need to work past the point where I think it's finished." Computer Arts interviews typographer and artist Marian Bantjes. Also check her "Click me. Read me. Open me. Buy me. Love me." print.
For those who tried to rock.
"Nauseating, perverted and vicious." Carrie Frye of About Last Night on the 60th anniversary of the publication of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery.
The Sweet Smell of Sin.
An afternoon at The Portland Paper Show with Aaron.
"...true things gradually disappeared and shiny easy things took their place." On this day in 1961, Steinbeck's The Winter or Our Discontent was published.
Aleksandar Hemon's The Lazarus Project. All the words are from the novel. Some pictures are contemporary and some historical. Mesmerizing. Via Rob Walker, who's Buying In is highly recommended.
KG lying on the beach with his back burned rare.
Armin on Otl Aicher.
Vintage children's book from 1963: I Want to be a Coal Miner.
Carl Alviani interviews five creative professionals about their work days for Coroflot's Creative Seeds.
Two new DIY printing books (PIY?) at p+p.
Alissa wants to know who will field test the Field-Tested Books Book?
Kottke posts on print design by looking way, way back to Hypnerotomachia Poliphili.