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Showing posts from November, 2008

Snacks

i know we're going to meet some day
in the crumbled financial institutions of this land
there will be tables and chairs
there'll be pony rides and dancing bears
there'll even be a band
'cause listen, after the fall there will be no more countries
no currencies at all, we're gonna live on our wits
we're gonna throw away survival kits,
trade butterfly-knives for adderal
and that's not all
ooh-ooh, there will be snacks there will
there will be snacks, there will be snacks

--Andrew Bird, Tables & Chairs"

Octavian Nothing II

I happened to tell Colleen Lindsay that I was reading M.T. Anderson's The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation; vol. 2: The Kingdom on the Waves, and she asked me if I would write about it for her site rather than my own, and because I was feeling charitable and generous and easily swayed by flattery, I agreed. And my rather odd and deeply conflicted review was just posted. Actually, I wouldn't even call it a review. More a personal reflection with occasional review-like qualities. Or a series of soul searches in search of an author. Or something.

Delany & Diaz Reading in NYC November 24

If anybody would like me to feel deep, visceral envy of them, they should attend the Monday, November 24 St. Marks Bookshop Reading Series where the readers are Samuel Delany and Junot Diaz.

Even if you don't care if I feel deep, visceral envy of you, you should attend if you can, because it's likely to be a phenomenal evening.

Yammer & Blab

Colleen Lindsay asked me to write a little something for her blog, perhaps something about MFA programs (though I've never attended one), perhaps advice to beginning writers (though there are vastly better people to receive advice from), perhaps pictures of sickeningly cute animals. I dithered, then wrote this.

Pictures of sickeningly cute animals will have to wait.

John Leonard (1939-2008)

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What I look for and care about in these various bunkers is the slice of the strange, the surprise of the Other, the witness not yet heard from, the archaeologies forgotten or ignored or despised. What I think about almost anything, from Henry Kissinger to Deng Xiaoping, from the doctrine of transubstantiation to the theory of surplus value to a tax on capital gains, from Murphy Brown to Thelma and Louise to Jelly's Last Jam, is a mess of juxtapositions, miscegenations, transplants and hybrids, atavisms and avatars, landlords and tenants, ghosts and gods; grace-notes and cognitive dissonance -- Chaos Theory, with lots of fractals.

--introduction to The Last Innocent White Man in America


Isn't it kind of stuck-up, wanting to live forever?

--"Tropic of Cancer" All through my teen years, if I happened to sleep past 9 am, one of my parents would yell, "John Leonard's on!" and I would be awake and rushing downstairs to see the brief segment of "CBS Sun…

Amazon's Best

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It's so rare that I agree with lists of the best books of the year that I'm astounded to see Amazon.com picked two books I'm quite fond of as its top two science fiction/fantasy titles of the year: Brian Slattery's Liberation: Being the Adventures of the Slick Six After the Collapse of the United States of America and Jeff Ford's The Drowned Life (a book I'm hoping to write about in the next week or two). I may even like more than those top two, but I haven't had time to read any of the others.

Thus, this week various people I voted for actually won elections and a top-ten list was published that I don't hate. What is happening to me?! Why is the world trying to make me content?!!

This Moment

I am always wary of making political statements here, and do it only occasionally, because I recognize that many of us differ in our perspectives and ideologies, and this is not primarily a political blog. I feel privileged to have friends and family members of very different political feelings, because they help me discover what I most cherish and believe.

I would regret staying silent at this moment in my country's history, because regardless of our personal political convictions, how could we not spend a moment to savor the fact that this country will now be led by a person of Barack Obama's background and heritage?

I do not believe this is a moment that will change the oppressions inherent in so much of this country's fabric. This is no revolution. As a politician, Obama is a moderate, and even if he weren't, there are limits to what a president can achieve (despite the attempts of the Bush administration to turn the government into even more of an oligarchy). I …