Monthly Archives: September 2009

“An Education” advance screening in San Francisco, 10/7, feat. Nick Hornby IN PERSON!


click to "enlarge"

LI’L TIFFANY: Thirty dollars? Fuck that.

PROVOST GARY: Li’l Tiffany, you spend that much on Vitamin Water and Zen Party Mix every week. And it’s a fundraiser for the Believer magazine, which you’re always reading at Patronio’s house. But you never buy it! And you love Nick Hornby’s “sensibility.” And look at this effing still from the film, it’s awesome:


LI’L TIFFANY: That does look funny. That looks like a photograph of your birthday party.

PROVOST GARY: Oh, Tiffany!!!

LI’L TIFFANY: OK, I’ll take 12 tickets, please.

PROVOST GARY: Oh, Tiffany!! I’m not selling the tickets! You’ll have to buy them from Brown Paper Tickets Dot Com!

LI’L TIFFANY: Sure thing, Provost Gary!!!!

[They both perish from Melancholia]

[Later that day, LI’L TIFFANY’s brother, JARED, is washing the dishes—one of his regular chores. He takes a sponge, wets it, and reaches for a plastic bottle of what he assumes is diswashing soap. He pours it all over the sponge, squeezing it, re-wetting it, etc. His mother, BETHANY, enters.]

BETHANY: Jared what the holy frock are you doing???

JARED: Whaddaya mean, mah? I’m doin’ my chores!

BETHANY: But Jared, you’ve coated your sponge——with honey!!!

[JARED regards his sponge with new interest. It is shining and sticky with Grade-A California Honey, a  plastic bottle of which stands near the sink. He smiles and shakes his head with amazement.]

JARED: Geez, that’s amazin. Mah, didya know——I’m flying on three tabs of acid right now?!??

BETHANY: Jaaaa-redd!!!

[They perish from dehydration]

Inside Issue One of The Lincoln Donnybrooke

In our inaugural issue:











• ETC •


Edited by Elvis Costello with Marcia Pleadekneathes

DOG: Ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff

DOG 2: Ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff

DOG: Ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff

DOG 2: Ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff

DOG: Ruff ruff ruff

DOG 2: Ruff ruff

DOG: Ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff

Thorne Hall

GARY: Instead of working, I’m going to go home, caramelize the crisper’s two floppy carrots in some hot marijuana oil with onions, and take it from there.

BEA: Don’t. You’ll hate yourself on Monday. To say nothing of Sunday. You have a profound amount of work to do.

GARY: I know that, Bea. But but but but [whines and whimpers]

BEA: Suit yourself. You’ll be dead someday.

GARY: Maybe I’ll die tonight!

BEA: Maybe you’ll die in three hundred years.

GARY: What if I eat the psychotropic carrots and then go adopt a dog?

BEA: A terrifying idea. Too bad you’ve already eaten enough calories to nourish you for 24 hours. Getting a snack right now might make for a fun and effective “break.”

GARY: I just went outside to smoke a cigarette. I smoked it by the Dog Eared Books sidewalk carts. I read the first few pages of James Lasdun’s The Horned Man, and bought it for a dollar. It’s a seductive opening for a book semi-randomly selected from a cart:

One afternoon earlier this winter, in a moment of idle curiosity, I took a book from the shelf in my office and began reading it where it fell open on a piece of compressed tissue that had evidently been used as a bookmark. I’d only had time to read a few sentences when I was interrupted by a knock on the door. Reluctantly—the sentences had looked interesting—I closed the book on its marker and returned it to the shelf.

BEA: I see what you mean. You shared the narrator’s “idle curiosity” in a book selected at random—and his placid interest in the sentences contained therein!

GARY: I also liked how the narrator opened the book to a random page in the middle, whereas I was reading the book’s opening—but in more or less the same way I’d have read a page at random. It’s as if Lasdun had predicted the manner in which I’d come to his book. A clever and subtle variation on another kind of novelistic preface—”The book you hold in your hands, gentle reader, may contain some sentences of interest…”

BEA: What’s that from?

GARY: Nothing. That was just my made-up example.

BEA: Try to work until six and then go home and do the carrots.

GARY: If I eat pot after 5 p.m. I invariably wake up stoned the next day.

BEA: Work till six, go home, read, and go to sleep. Sunday will be a boon.

GARY: Unlikely. I hate you.

BEA: You hate nothing. You remind me of nothing so much as the dining hall at Bowdoin College.

GARY: In that I seem to “contain” a large group of distracted and druggie scholars procrastinating and gorging themselves?

BEA: No, I mean you physically resemble that building. With its round white façade, the syruped steam farting from the loading bays.

GARY: I hate you.

BEA: You’re handsome, don’t get me wrong. And you hate nothing.

Full-Scale Erotica

—Intelligence has nothing to do with it.

—Then what’s it about?

—Whether or not you’re right.

—How’s that determined?

—History? I don’t know. Sex?

—Sex tells you whether or not you’re right?

—If you’re having good sex, nice sex, successful sex with someone, then you’re right.

—”Well, you’re doing something right.”


—You were also saying something about sex addicts.

—The [scholarly name for the assumed authors of the Tanakh TK] called cocaine “the drug of more.” But everything is the drug of more.

—I hardly think cigarettes are a provocative example.


—I dunno, I think you’re just intellectualizing your jelly-spined self-loathing mournful nonsense. “Obesity,” blah blah blah

—And I, in turn, think… you’re right

Are you coming on to me?


—You need some exercise

—I need to get some work done. And a cigarette.

—This is a boring conversation

—This is a boring website

—This is a boring Saturday

—Do you think the people who are suffering so that you can eat and work and complain are bored?

—No, suffering isn’t boring

—Is boredom a form a suffering?

—Nah. I mean, sure. But nah

—Do you still think depression is bullshit?

—No. How could I? At least two suicides have affected my life in a…

—That’s hardly an argument for the… efficacy? Truth? Non-bullshitness of depression

—I know. But I have more respect for depression now.

—Quit your job and move to New York

—Why on earth would I do that?

—So that you can go to galleries and learn about the world through art

—There are galleries here

—Yeah but they don’t have John Baldessari and Jeff Koons and Tom Friedman exhibitions here

—OK, but sometimes they do. Also, there’s, like, Chris Johanson and the Pacific Ocean

—I know I know I know. This isn’t suppsosed to be an artful dialogue, by the way, I’m just getting some stuff out there, working it through

—The more you explain that, the more “sufferingly” boring this thing becomes

—I know I know I know I know I know

—Another thing: I bet you don’t have the balls to write erotica on your website. You talk a big game about “erotica” but I bet you don’t have the balls. Your mentor reads the blog and he’s a chaste author; he doesn’t write things about balls slapping against another person’s face

—Maybe you I mean I shit I’m confused

—Balls are slapping against your face. You make a mewling sound.

—A woman sets her breasts down on a shelf like they are something she brought back from the Farmers’ Market. Or like they are something she bought at a toy store for rich and gifted children. Her husband smiles (“appreciatively”)

—A businessman wears a nice suit and then lets his erection poke through his open fly

—A San Francisco fruit fly kisses his lover’s body through her underwear

—This is so risqué! You’re really flirting with the bleeding edge

—An attractive man flirts with a bleeding edge in a whiskey bar in San Francisco

—She has a boyfriend

—It doesn’t matter

—Who are you talking about

—A famous artist

—What’s her name

—Kiki Smith

—Tell me seriously, all erotica has to have a real-life referent

—That would be despicable, to write erotica about a real person on the Internet

—But you just admitted that it’s impossible to write erotica without a real-life referent

—Yeah but only insofar as it’s impossible to write anything without real-life referents

—A pink cube presses his lips against an orange sphere’s butt. The new Massive Attack album plays in the background. The tropical fish have gathered in their bowl to watch

—That’s a funny idea, voyeuristic tropical pet fish watching their owner get ploughed by her lover

—Do you have to write about sex like this? Do you have to write about sex at all? Can’t you be doing this in a TextEdit file that roils privately on your hard drive, rather than publicly, here in a WordPress web editor?

—What’s the difference? Anything I write in TextEdit is going to end up in Ploughshares anyway.

—Ha. You give yourself a lot of credit. Have you ever published anything in Ploughshares?

Yeah. They took a story I wrote about a bunch of abstract shapes having an orgy.

—Ha. Seriously, though, have you ever published fiction? In a real journal?


—OK then. So get back to TextEdit and let this poor woman dress herself and leave.

—There is no poor girl. This is my “intellectual playground.” I’m not forcing this on anyone. This website

—Oh just call it a blog for chrisesakes

—This blog is like a ruled composition notebook I’ve moonily left in an old coffee tin at the top of a medium-tall mountain. YOu know the coffee tins they leave at mtn summits so you can record your name in the register


—So that’s what this is. You can look at it but I’m not

—Oh shut up. You’re disingenuous to a scary degree.

[By now they’re naked. They start to make love but the dude comes too soon. The woman begins to cry.]

—[weeping] I never should have left Texas…..

Friday night

Trying to enter bad copyedits into a decent essay is like watching an idiot referee ruin your beautiful 13-year-old son’s basketball game with his terrible calls.

Unfortunately, I’ve had both experiences tonight.

I’m sorry, Jared.

Shroud of the Gnome


James Tate wrote a book called Shroud of the Gnome.

Calling something a “blog” makes any enterprise—even one that feeds hungry animals (as this does) and gives fair compensation (calmly nodding)—sound faddish and lame.


Lick the conch-shell’s natural mouthpiece:

Valerie Plame is a beautiful name.


Poetry has an appetite.

The walls of the academy are graffitied with Internet slogans. Mottoes like Fuck triage and The boilcloth reeks of the hamper.

Sarah named obscure flowers and trees in her poems. Gary, a lesser poet, listed psych bands.


The tripping kids shamed us, we who were merely drunk and stoned, by effortlessly getting a good campfire going.


Your meek, semipotent austerity is awesome.

Unclaimed tickets will be shredded and the shreds will be burned.

In order to receive your email, I’ll need to FedEx a kiss from my eyeball to yours.


You’re a body of water, dude! I’m on acid!!!!

Conceit 2.0

I think I wrote this two nights ago. When people start going to therapy, it’s all they can talk about. I’m not paying anyone to listen to me talk about myself right now. Well, occasionally I buy people beers and then talk about myself. I ply folks with “blue” American Spirits. But no therapy.

DEB: That’s good
PV: Yep
DEB: what else
PV: Indulgin the self
Deb: s’kool. you think people read the blog?
PV: I know they do. I can’t play a round of tennis on the public courts without a bypassing coupe breezily slowing as they pass and the driver (a sunglassed man of indeterminate age, moustache: fake) shouting, “Hey, Quailty!”
DEB: That must be nice.
PV: you’re being sarcastic, but it is.
Deb: your blog seems really well proofread. there are fewer typos than other places on the internet
PV: THat’s cos I use a new proofreading program, called Conceit. It’s made by the same company that makes the Swiffer.
deb: anmd it works?
PV: it really does, deb.
[they make love]
deb: that was… how do you say… ‘bad sex.”
pv: i know. I have bad sex on purpose sometimes, just to mix it up
deb: Wait why
pv: um, because if you only have the good sex, then it gets really… you know…
deb: ok, whatever. let’s try again
[they have “the sex of teenagers”.]
[they have “the sex of women”]
[they have the sex of squirrels]
[they have the sex of the mindless]
[they have the sex of the ruptured manqué]
[they have johnson’s dictionary–style sex]
[they have john candy sex]
[they have marcy playground sex]
[they have john cougar mellencamp sex]
[they have precious windchime sex]
[they fall asleep]