February 25, 2010

Quite some time ago when I was younger
Maybe eight or nine
A friend of mine had nearly met his
Death before his time

Irving Penn, After Dinner Games, 1947

* NY Magazine interviews Shaq regarding the art exhibit he recently curated. excerpt:

Q: How did you make your choices?

Shaq: Art is a process of delivering or arranging elements that appeal to the emotions of a person looking at it. It’s what you feel. I picked those things because they were beautiful. The thing about size—if it’s big or small you have to look at it. Because I’m so big you have to look at me. I think of myself as a monument. But sometimes I like to feel small.

Q: Do you ever get time to visit museums?

Shaq:I used to go a lot with my kids. Donald Trump is a great friend, and he has four or five Picassos on his plane. And that’s where I would look at them. One time, I was at a museum and tried touching a Picasso. You break it, you buy it, they said. I was told it would cost $2 million.

Q: Have you ever tried painting?

Shaq: No, but I’ve met a lot of artists who wanted to paint me. LeRoy Neiman was one. He did it from a photograph. He made 20,000 copies, and we sold them all. Now I’m working with the greatest artist in the world, Peter Max.

* Does Tiger Woods owe you an apology?

* "..listening to a cassette tape is not an exact science, some cassette players play them a little faster…others distort and phase the music sometimes changing the sound on the cassette forever…my first introduction to U2 as a youngster was listening to a cassette that had at some point been chewed up by a dog. It sounded like a recording of a My Bloody Valentine rehearsal or something full of incredible whooshing noises and vibrato, imagine my disappointment on hearing the correct version a few years later." -- Gruff Rhys

February 24, 2010

If we’re on delancey steet at night
In the after train ride quiet
Barking dogs by highgate pond
Something’s here but something’s gone

Saul Leiter, Paterson, 1952

In My Youth I Was a Tireless Dancer
-- by Edward Dorn

But now I pass
graveyards in a car.
The dead lie,
with their feet toward me--
please forgive me for
saying the tombstones would not
fancy their faces turned from the highway.

Oh perish the thought
I was thinking in that moment
Newman Illinois
the Saturday night dance--
what a life? Would I like it again?
No. Once I returned late summer
from California thin from journeying
and the girls were not the same.
You'll say that's natural
they had been dancing all the time.

Surreptitious Kissing
-- by Denis Johnson

I want to say that
forgiveness keeps on

dividing, that hope
gives issue to hope,

and more, but of course I
am saying what is

said when in this dark
hallway one encounters

you, and paws and
assaults you—love

affairs, fast lies—and you
say it back and we

blunder deeper, as would
any pair of loosed

marionettess, any couple
of cadavers cut lately

from the scaffold,
in the secluded hallways

of whatever is
holding us up now.

People Who Eat in Coffee Shops
-- by Edward Field

People who eat in coffee shops
are not worried about nutrition.
They order the toasted cheese sandwiches blithely,
followed by chocolate egg creams and plaster of paris
wedges of lemon meringue pie.
They don't have parental, dental, or medical figures hovering
full of warnings, or whip out dental floss immediately.
They can live in furnished rooms and whenever they want
go out and eat glazed donuts along with innumerable coffees,
dousing their cigarettes in sloppy saucers.

February 23, 2010

Alone in my room
I feel such a warmth for the community
But out on the streets
I feel like a robot by the river
Looking for a drink

Jiha Moon, Painter’s Argument, 2009

* From Harper's March 2010:

-- Chance that a name currently on the U.S. terrorism watch list also appears on the "no-fly" list: 1 in 117

-- Number of U.S. university president who currently earn more that $1 million per year: 24

-- Number who did in 2002: 0

-- Chance in the average number of minutes an American man spends watching TV each day when he becomes unemployed: +74

-- Change in the average number of minutes of child care he performs: -3

-- Percentage of American men aged 18 to 29 who believe that standing up during sex is an effective form of contraception: 18

-- Average number of words consumed each day by a U.S. adult during his or her leisure time: 105,000

* Mary Roach: Ten things you didn't know about orgasm, a TED talk.

* "Cheese crumbs spread in front of copulating rats will distract the female but not the male." -- Alfred Kinsey

February 19, 2010

ask the driver nicely
i need a lift, i need relief

Tauba Auerbac, Subtraction (Startling), 2007

Your Ass
-- by Lewis MacAdams Jr.

I study a deep, green painting
and dream of 'your ass'
I am sitting in this sidewalk cafe
trying to master
the lost music of Hank Johnson

Anything arbitrary is tough to choke down
a brown tin ashtray, black coffee
empty Greek cigarette pack

someone is here
he must have come down alone
wanting a drink of water

it is dangerous, he hoped
to write the new language
it is like a stringy westerner
from down the line
singing alone

the music of the country
doesn't "flare"
it sidles up like need
and coughing

it's as if there were a cow pony
behind me
he cries and is saying
the only word
he knows in my language
"your ass"
and it was taught
by Hank Johnson

Even that
saving grace
is now gone
wandering through the crowded room
bowing, awarding
the correct change
so being swallowed
like the old west itself
and the obscenities and cold water
of Hank Johnson

used book store
-- by charles simic

lovers hold hands in never-opened novels.
the page with a recipe for cucumber soup is missing.
a dead man writes of his happy childhood on a farm,
of riding in a balloon over lake erie.

a sudden draft shuts his book in my hand.
while a philosopher asks how is it possible
to maintain the theologically orthodox doctrine
of eternal punishment of the damned?

let's see. there may be sand among the pages
of a travel guide to Egypt of even a dead flea
that once bit the ass of the mysterious Abigail
who scribbled her name teasingly with an eye pencil.

-- by Beth Woodcome

The shame in the church crawls out of each human. A mild sin grows first behind the ears.

The wind: it comes without thought or any use of my hands. My hair grows the same color as the red scarf covering a lamp. I’ve heard of women who lead men into a chamber that is stained like the pit of a cherry. Place something upon the tongue. Go in peace.

Pretending there is no time to stop and look at the old gravestones that lean south, my father keeps driving. The common is cold and blown clear of leaves. This is near Chocksett School playground where a German shepherd tore up my soft back. My father took me to the dog that night to let it smell me. I held it in my arms. We’re all bound to something.

The strain of the body in trauma stresses the heart muscle. When I come up for air, the wind fills my throat before I realize I want it to.

February 18, 2010

What they've done to her man
Those shaky hands

Hans Hollein, Erotische Architektur, 1969

* Beautiful: Marvin Gaye sings the national anthem at the 1983 NBA All-Star game.

* Friday night in Bethesda, Maryland: Story Stereo. J. Robbins (of Jawbox fame) Sings J. Robbins J. will be joined by Gordon Withers on cello, playing stripped down versions of songs from throughout his catalog. The writers this time out are Marianne Villanueva (Mayor of Roses) and Steve Fellner (All Screwed Up). 8pm @ The Writer's Center.

* "But contrary to what some people seem to think, I was never a bully. I was just a hard man." -- Roger Daltrey

February 17, 2010

you look a lot like a German painter
with your drama

Vĕra Chytilová, Daises, 1966

The Old Man
-- George Oppen

The old man
In the mirror
But the young man
In the photograph
Is stranger

There It Is
-- by Jayne Cortez

And if we don't fight
if we don't resist
if we don't organize and unify and
get the power to control our own lives
Then we will wear
the exaggerated look of captivity
the stylized look of submission
the bizarre look of suicide
the dehumanized look of fear
and the decomposed look of repression
forever and ever and ever
And there it is

-- by Donald Hall

To grow old is to lose everything.
Aging, everybody knows it.
Even when we are young,
we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads
when a grandfather dies.
Then we row for years on the midsummer
pond, ignorant and content. But a marriage,
that began without harm, scatters
into debris on the shore,
and a friend from school drops
cold on a rocky strand.
If a new love carries us
past middle age, our wife will die
at her strongest and most beautiful.
New women come and go. All go.
The pretty lover who announces
that she is temporary
is temporary. The bold woman,
middle-aged against our old age,
sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand.
Another friend of decades estranges himself
in words that pollute thirty years.
Let us stifle under mud at the pond's edge
and affirm that it is fitting
and delicious to lose everything.

February 16, 2010

stars don't shine upon us
we're in the way of their light

unknown, Capitol steps after 1939 snow

* Bonnie Prince Billy videoannounces new album "The Wonder Show of the World" out March 22, 2010. Bonus: slightly new moniker "Bonnie Prince Billy & The Cairo Gang." And, is that Will in the video???

* Download Thelonious Monk'sSomething in Blue.

* "Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one consciously, by means of certain external symbols, conveys to others the feelings one has experienced, whereby people so infected by these feelings, also experience them." -- Leo Tolstoy

February 11, 2010

Once I wanted to be
the greatest

Ted Gahl

* Richard Yates reads his short story: The Best of Everything (scroll to bottom for direct link).

* "More and more I find that life is a series of disappearances followed usually but not always by reappearances; you disappear from your morning self and reappear as your afternoon self; you disappear from feeling good and reappear feeling bad. And people, even face to face and clasped in each other's arms, disappear from each other." -- Russell Hoban

--- fyi, the email address on the sidebar has been down for over a week. it should be working in the next couple of days. apologies to anyone who had mail bounce... UPDATE: fixed 2.15.10...

February 10, 2010

It's so very cold in the mansion after sunset
Snow is blowing through the baseboard outlets.
And I have no idea what drives you mister.
tanning beds explode with rich women inside.

Paula Cox, Collage, 2007

-- by David Berman

Walking through a field with my little brother Seth

I pointed to a place where kids had made angels in the snow.
For some reason, I told him that a troop of angels
had been shot and dissolved when they hit the ground.

He asked who had shot them and I said a farmer.

Then we were on the roof of the lake.
The ice looked like a photograph of water.

Why he asked. Why did he shoot them.
I didn't know where I was going with this.
They were on his property, I said.

When it's snowing, the outdoors seem like a room.

Today I traded hellos with my neighbor.
Our voices hung close in the new acoustics.
A room with the walls blasted to shreds and falling.

We returned to our shoveling, working side by side in silence.
But why were they on his property, he asked.

The Charm Of 5:30
-- by David Berman

It's too nice a day to read a novel set in England.

We're within inches of the perfect distance from the sun,
the sky is blueberries and cream,
and the wind is as warm as air from a tire.
Even the headstones in the graveyard
Seem to stand up and say "Hello! My name is..."

It's enough to be sitting here on my porch,
thinking about Kermit Roosevelt,
following the course of an ant,
or walking out into the yard with a cordless phone
to find out she is going to be there tonight

On a day like today, what looks like bad news in the distance
turns out to be something on my contact, carports and white
courtesy phones are spontaneously reappreciated
and random "okay"s ring through the backyards.

This morning I discovered the red tints in cola
when I held a glass of it up to the light
and found an expensive flashlight in the pocket of a winter coat
I was packing away for summer.

It all reminds me of that moment when you take off your sunglasses
after a long drive and realize it's earlier
and lighter out than you had accounted for.

You know what I'm talking about,

and that's the kind of fellowship that's taking place in town, out in
the public spaces. You won't overhear anyone using the words
"dramaturgy" or "state inspection today. We're too busy getting along.

It occurs to me that the laws are in the regions and the regions are
in the laws, and it feels good to say this, something that I'm almost
sure is true, outside under the sun.

Then to say it again, around friends, in the resonant voice of a
nineteenth-century senator, just for a lark.

There's a shy looking fellow on the courthouse steps, holding up a
placard that says "But, I kinda liked Reagan." His head turns slowly
as a beautiful girl walks by, holding a refrigerated bottle up against
her flushed cheek.

She smiles at me and I allow myself to imagine her walking into
town to buy lotion at a brick pharmacy.
When she gets home she'll apply it with great lingering care before
moving into her parlor to play 78 records and drink gin-and-tonics
beside her homemade altar to James Madison.

In a town of this size, it's certainly possible that I'll be invited over
one night.

In fact I'll bet you something.

Somewhere in the future I am remembering today. I'll bet you
I'm remembering how I walked into the park at five thirty,
my favorite time of day, and how I found two cold pitchers
of just poured beer, sitting there on the bench.

I am remembering how my friend Chip showed up
with a catcher's mask hanging from his belt and how I said

great to see you, sit down, have a beer, how are you,
and how he turned to me with the sunset reflecting off his contacts
and said, wonderful, how are you.

February 9, 2010

I was not weak but the drink was strong

Felrath Hines, Escape

* The New Yorker recently published an excerpt from Roberto Bolano's 2666 as William Burns. excerpt:

It was a dreary time in my life. I was going through a rough patch at work. I was supremely bored, though up till then I’d always been immune to boredom. I was going out with two women. That I do remember clearly. One of them was getting on a bit—she must have been about my age—and the other wasn’t much more than a girl. Some days, though, they seemed like two ailing, crotchety old women, and other days like two little girls who just wanted to play. The age difference wasn’t so big that you’d mistake them for mother and daughter, but almost. Though that’s the kind of thing a man can only guess at; you never really know for sure. Anyway, these women had two dogs, a big one and a little one. And I never knew which dog belonged to which woman. They were sharing a house on the outskirts of a town in the mountains where people went for summer vacation. When I mentioned to someone, some friend or acquaintance, that I was going up there for the summer, he told me I should take my fishing rod. But I didn’t have a fishing rod. Someone else told me about the stores and the cabins, taking it easy, clearing the mind. But I wasn’t going there for a vacation; I was going to take care of the women. Why did they ask me to take care of them? What they told me was that some guy was out to harm them. They called him the killer. When I asked what his motive was, they didn’t have an answer, or maybe they preferred to keep me in the dark. So I tried to work it out for myself. They were afraid, they believed they were in danger, though maybe it was all a false alarm. But why should I tell people what to think, especially when they’ve hired me? Anyway, I reckoned that after a week or so they’d come around to my point of view. So I went up into the mountains with them and their dogs, and we moved into a little stone-and-timber house full of windows, more windows than I think I’ve ever seen in one house, all different sizes and scattered haphazardly. From the outside, the windows gave you the impression that the house had three floors, but in fact there were only two. Inside, especially in the living room and some of the bedrooms on the first floor, they produced a dizzying, exhilarating, maddening effect. In the bedroom I was given there were only two windows, both quite small, one above the other, the top one almost reaching the ceiling, the lower one just over a foot from the floor. All the same, life up there was pleasant. The older woman wrote every morning, but she didn’t shut herself away, the way they say writers usually do; she set up her laptop on the living-room table. The younger woman spent her time gardening or playing with the dogs or talking with me. I did most of the cooking, and although I’m not an expert the women praised the meals I prepared. I could have gone on living like that for the rest of my life. But one day the dogs ran away and I went out to look for them. I remember searching through a wood nearby, armed only with a flashlight, and peering into the yards of empty houses. I couldn’t find them anywhere.

* Threats made against former Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly during the 88-89 season.

* "A drug is neither moral nor immoral -- it's a chemical compound. The compound itself is not a menace to society until a human being treats it as if consumption bestowed a temporary license to act like an asshole. -- Frank Zappa

February 8, 2010

you don't remember Paris hon
but it remembers you

Grace Weston, Winter Thaw, 2005

* Congrats to Barb and Dave who were married Saturday during the dc blizzard!

* Old, but new to me: Will Oldham on Bonnie Prince Billy and Vice-versa. excerpt:

"When after the fourth release I had our record service place my own name on the new merchandise, he assailed me with threats of arbitration. He threatened to expose our beguiling arrangement unless I put his new and gaudy stage name, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, on the spines of all future releases. Because I was convalescing from a painful cryptorchism at the time, I complied with all his demands. From my attic sickbed window I saw how Billy shouldered former playmates out of the way on the village square. He soon acquired a New York tailor and a team of fast horses that blasted by the salutations of old friends. When I requested that he begin to perform favoured older works such as Silver Threads Among the Gold and Kathleen Mavourneen, he balked and instead added the songs of rude and unscrupulous cads like Kenneth Chesney and Timothy McGraw to his live repertoire. How I dreamed of walloping him with my withered arm!

"When, furthermore, he informed me that he had secretly recorded an album of my early compositions in the mode of these Nashvillian omnibus conductors, my dormant brinkmanship was finally aroused. See here, my soi-disant Prince! You'll have no more of my songs to sing! Furthermore, the royalties from your dreadful cover album will only fill my coffers with more gold - gold that will enable me to purchase the plastic surgery that will make our faces and forms indistinguishable from one another! If I could I would conjure a manticore to devour your form, Billy, but instead I shall let ignominy be your penultimate reward and a blank headstone in a dreadful fen your final recompense! And to you, fair England, I shall see you post-operatively anon!"

* "Bureaucrats write memoranda both because they appear to be busy when they are writing and because the memos, once written, immediately become proof that they were busy." -- Charles Peter

February 5, 2010

snow scenes level lonely bastards

kimberly tschida petters, Silos

Sad Advice
-- by Robert Creeley

If it isn't fun, don't do it.
You'll have to do enough that isn't.

Such is life, like they say,
no one gets away without paying

and since you don't get to keep it
anyhow, who needs it.

-- by Kim Addonizio

They hang around, hitting on your friends
or else you never hear from them again.
They call when they're drunk, or finally get sober,

they're passing through town and want dinner,
they take your hand across the table, kiss you
when you come back from the bathroom.

They were your loves, your victims,
your good dogs or bad boys, and they're over
you now. one writes a book in which a woman

who sounds suspiciously like you
is the first to be sadistically dismembered
by a serial killer. They're getting married

and want you to be the first to know,
or they've been fired and need a loan,
their new girlfriend hates you,

they say they don't miss you but show up
in your dreams, calling to you from the shoeboxes
where they're buried in rows in your basement.

Some nights you find one floating into bed with you,
propped on an elbow, giving you a look
of fascination, a look that says I can't believe

I've found you. It's the same way
your current boyfriend gazed at you last night,
before he pulled the plug on the tiny white lights

above the bed, and moved against you in the dark
broken occasionally by the faint restless arcs
of headlights from the freeway's passing trucks,

the big rigs that travel and travel,
hauling their loads between cities, warehouses,
following the familiar routes of their loneliness.

-- by Frank Stanford

I aimed to get some of my blood
back from the Snow Lake mosquitoes
my belly was full of lemonade
and my hair had Wild Root on it
I took to the thicket at dawn
not knowing where I was from in the man in the moon
there were trees with so much shade
you shivered
like someone chiseling the year in a graveyard
the shadows seeped thick as smoke
when you touched them
even breathing drew blood from the wood
it was dark
as a swarm
they smelled like olives
and feet in a garden
when you bowed and kissed them

February 4, 2010

We've lived in bars
And danced on tables
Hotels trains and ships that sail
We swim with sharks
And fly with aeroplanes in the air

Stacie Albano

* Calvin & Hobbes creator Bill Watterson is interviewed for the first time in 15 years. excerpt:

Q: Readers became friends with your characters, so understandably, they grieved -- and are still grieving -- when the strip ended. What would you like to tell them?

BW: This isn't as hard to understand as people try to make it. By the end of 10 years, I'd said pretty much everything I had come there to say.

It's always better to leave the party early. If I had rolled along with the strip's popularity and repeated myself for another five, 10 or 20 years, the people now "grieving" for "Calvin and Hobbes" would be wishing me dead and cursing newspapers for running tedious, ancient strips like mine instead of acquiring fresher, livelier talent. And I'd be agreeing with them. I think some of the reason "Calvin and Hobbes" still finds an audience today is because I chose not to run the wheels off it. I've never regretted stopping when I did.

Q: Because your work touched so many people, fans feel a connection to you, like they know you. They want more of your work, more Calvin, another strip, anything. It really is a sort of rock star/fan relationship. Because of your aversion to attention, how do you deal with that even today? And how do you deal with knowing that it's going to follow you for the rest of your days?

BW: Ah, the life of a newspaper cartoonist -- how I miss the groupies, drugs and trashed hotel rooms!

But since my "rock star" days, the public attention has faded a lot. In Pop Culture Time, the 1990s were eons ago. There are occasional flare-ups of weirdness, but mostly I just go about my quiet life and do my best to ignore the rest. I'm proud of the strip, enormously grateful for its success, and truly flattered that people still read it, but I wrote "Calvin and Hobbes" in my 30s, and I'm many miles from there.

An artwork can stay frozen in time, but I stumble through the years like everyone else. I think the deeper fans understand that, and are willing to give me some room to go on with my life.

* Karin Jurick's paintings of people looking at art.

* Dust Congress contributor, poet Dennis Mahagin, has a new blog. Check out his latest poems.

* "Do you remember what Darwin says about music? He claims that the power of producing and appreciating it existed among the human race long before the power of speech was arrived at. Perhaps that is why we are so subtly influenced by it. There are vague memories in our souls of those misty centuries when the world was in its infancy." --Sherlock Holmes, addressing Dr. Watson

February 3, 2010

You may be sweet and nice
But that won't keep you warm at night

Saul Leiter, Lanesville (variant), 1958

When I Worked for Madonna
-- Joanna Ruocco

The bodyguards wear white
The bullets fly towards them
The bodyguards are clouds
The bullets do not penetrate
Kaddafi. The bullets are precipitation
After we drink coffee, we check
the bird feeders. Kaddafi has purple
martins on his shoulders. The bodyguards
are snowy egrets. Forget
in both directions from this moment
I am right in front of you
I have a rifle
I am sexually wonderful
like a horse

-- by Philip Booth

Walking, you thumb the remote
to scan news,
watch the weather girl
dance both hands, pivot,
smile, and point to
the other coast.
So what does morning look like?
What does the world.
From this motel:
an anywhere town, across the bay, shining.
Elsewhere mountains.
Miles beyond hills,
the capital cities, their walls behind walls.
Monuments to our lies,
to our self-blinded lives.
Above us now, two fishhawks, cheeping musical shrieks,
the risen sun easing their wingbeats.
Over us all,
daylight's invisible satellites, shamelessly
bouncing back from space the emptiness we feed them.

Thing Language
-- by Jack Spicer

This ocean, humiliating in its disguises
Tougher than anything.
No one listens to poetry. The ocean
Does not mean to be listened to. A drop
Or crash of water. It means
Is bread and butter
Pepper and salt. The death
That young men hope for. Aimlessly
It pounds the shore. White and aimless signals. No
One listens to poetry.

February 2, 2010

And the women all were beautiful
And the men stood straight and strong
They offered life in sacrifice
So that others could go on

Alisha Amirkhanian, Gossip Girlz, 2010

* From When the Game Was Ours, by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson (with Jackie McMullin), 2009:

" 'For the most part, everything was cool," Larry Bird said [describing his first days at college]. 'I just didn't have any money. At night, if the guys wanted to go get something to eat, I had no money to do it. I couldn't buy a pair of pants or a shirt. [My friend] Jimmy Wisman was pretty nice. He let me wear whatever I wanted of his. But it started to get to me, just never having any money."

Two weeks into school, Bird started to rethink his strategy. Maybe he should withdraw from Indiana University, get a job, then try again when he had some financial security. He didn't share his concerns with any of his new friends on campus or his parents back home. The few times he called, [his mother] Georgia could sense he was homesick, but she encouraged him to study hard and stick with it. Bird's interaction with [Coach Bob] Knight was minimal, particularly since the team's workouts had not yet officially begun. He occasionally bumped into Knight at the gym, but the coach was an intimidating figure, and Bird was not one to initiate a conversation.

Bird might have made it if not for the night he broke his toe during a pickup game on the outdoor courts after another player landed on his foot. The injury was painful and left Bird limping all over campus. He got up 40 minutes earlier in the morning so he'd make it to his first class on time, but was consistently late getting to the next one.

" 'I'm sitting there saying to myself, 'I'm hurt, I can't work, I'm going to be in trouble for being late to class, I don't have any money, and they won't let me play in any of the games,' ' Bird said. 'Time to go home.'

After 24 days on campus, Bird packed up his duffel bag, closed his dormitory room door, and hitchhiked back to [his hometown of] French Lick. He did not tell anyone of his plans - not even the coach who had recruited him.

When Larry walked into his house, his mother, who had just finished her waitress shift, was washing dishes at the sink.

" 'What are you doing home?' asked Georgia Bird.

" 'I'm done. I'm not going back.' her son answered. 'I'm going to work.'

Georgia Bird's voice cracked. She was a strong, proud woman, but this news crushed her. 'I thought you were going to be the first one to graduate college.' she said. 'This was a great opportunity for you. Don't you understand? I'm so disappointed.' ...

Bird's mother said nothing more. She did not speak to Larry for nearly a month and a half. Bird moved in with his grandmother Lizzie Kerns and avoided Georgia completely. By then his parents were divorced, and while [his father] Joe Bird was not happy with his son's decision either, he advised him, 'If you are leaving school to work, then you better get on that job - now.' ...

He took a job working for the town of French Lick cutting trees, painting street signs, sweeping the roads, collecting garbage, and unplugging the sewers. He later worked for a company delivering mobile homes.

* Best announcer goal call so far this year. check it.

* "Just as language has no longer anything in common with the thing it names, so the movements of most
of the people who live in cities have lost their connection with the earth; they hang, as it were, in the
air, hover in all directions, and find no place where they can settle." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

February 1, 2010

who'm i gonna be
what am i gonna do
i've been foolin' everybody
i've been uptown at the zoo

Amanda Burnham, Nothing to Say, 2008

* Excerpt from George Kaufman and his Friends, by Scott Meredith, 1974:

"In 1922, Harold Ross began had developed a plan for a new magazine focused on the New York scene, a magazine to be slanted toward sophisticates and to carry the legend Not for the little old lady from Dubuque. He talked about the idea so unceasingly, holding people tightly by the arm to keep them from escaping, that he soon came to be regarded as even more tedious than untidy, which was saying a lot. His friends also thought the magazine didn't have a chance in the world, particularly with Ross as its founder and editor. 'If I had any thoughts about him then,' [playwright] George Kaufman told James Thurber long afterward, 'they were to the effect that he didn't belong in the Army or in civilian life either. He carried a dummy of the magazine for two years, everywhere, and I'm afraid he was rather a bore with it.'

"Kaufman and the others were almost right; the magazine would probably never have gotten started if the playwright had not himself, though unintentionally, done something which brought it about. He invited Ross to a poker game at his apartment one evening and seated him next to Raoul Fleischmann, a very pleasant and very rich young man who was heir to a baking and yeast fortune. As it turned out, Fleischmann was fascinated by the odd-looking man seated next to him, and by the things he was saying. When the card game was over, he invited Ross to meet him again and discuss the matter further. And after a number of additional meetings and discussions, he agreed to bankroll the new enterprise.

"The first issue of The New Yorker was dated February 21, 1925, and appeared on the newsstands on the 19th. It was terrible. Its stories and articles were dull, and its cartoons and humor pieces were unfunny. The early issues were also as sloppy as the magazine's editor. A poem was run in one issue and then accidentally run again a few issues later. By August, the magazine, which had started with a press run of 15,000 copies, was selling only 2700 copies per issue, and Frank Crowninshield, editor of the fat and successful Vanity Fair, looked over an early New Yorker and said complacently, 'Well, I don't think we have much to worry about with this thing.'

"The magazine almost ceased to struggle months before it reached its August low. It was doing so badly three months after it started that Fleischmann, watching his money pour away at a rate fast enough to alarm even a man of his resources, called a luncheon meeting on May 19 and told the glum group facing him that he was pulling out. Ross tried to convince him to hang on, but Fleischmann was adamant, and the lunch broke up with the magazine under death notice. It was saved by a chance encounter at a friend's festivities. Frank Adams's was being remarried that night, and, at the wedding party, Ross seized hold of Fleischmann and began to plead with him again to support the magazine a while longer. In what Thurber later described as 'that atmosphere of hope, beginning, and champagne,' Fleischmann finally agreed, and this time held on until the magazine became so successful that it began to bring him more money than his family's yeast and baking. ... In ten years, it had put Frank Crowninshield and his Vanity Fair out of business."

* Check out the films of James O. Incandenza, avant-garde filmmaker, mathematician, and visionary tennis instructor from David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest.

* "With the money I'm making, I should be playing two positions." -- Pete Rose