Monthly Archives: February 2011

Understanding Comics

Gaddis:

True, often the only way he could know whether he had read a newspaper was to turn to the comic strips, where life flowed in continuum; and recognizing them, he knew that he must have read everything else closely and avidly, that nothing had evaded his eye, nor penetrated to his heart round which he had built that wall called objectivity without which he might have gone mad.

Paparazzo: Episode Eight

Announcing Episode Eight of Paparazzo, a radio show about culture broadcasting from Paris, France.

The software I used to record the phone call adds distortion after 10 minutes of recording. It comes in at about the 9:30 mark of today’s episode, which is about “nothing/suffering”

[Listen to Episodes One, Two, Three Four, Five, Six, and Seven.]

BR Myers:

Most of us consider it a virtue to maintain our principles in the face of social pressure, but in the involuted world of gourmet morals, constancy is rudeness. One must never spoil a dinner party for mere religious or ethical reasons. Pollan says he sides with the French in regarding “any personal dietary prohibition as bad manners.” (The American foodie is forever projecting his own barbarism onto France.) Bourdain writes, “Taking your belief system on the road—or to other people’s houses—makes me angry.” The sight of vegetarian tourists waving away a Vietnamese pho vendor fills him with “spluttering indignation.”

Cursive

Another thing you’ll lose when you let newspapers die forever is reading the Sunday Times on a Monday night after two beers. (Substitution: if you’re an alcoholic in recovery, substitute two furious phonecalls to your ex-wife or whatever.) (I feel sympathy for alcoholics in recovery. I’ve had two beers. Stand up comedians don’t publish their routines in print because they’d be apologizing in parentheses until the sun rose on Tuesday morning. “It’s gonna be a hot one. I’m glad we moved to L.A.” “You can give yourself Deja Vu the same way you can give yourself herpes.” “Blank Dogs on Myspace.”)

Staring at an ad for James Taylor the immediate thought is: “I wish I was James Taylor.” That’s not quite it I’ve lost the thought. It’s something like: “In death, I want to become James Taylor, as he is. As he will appear in Ozawa Hall, Thur June 30, 8 p.m., in Tanglewood — between Lenox & Stockbridge, MA. Taylor looks like a hospice in the photograph. [LIKE A HOSPICE PATIENT? No, like he himself is a hospice for the dying. ALL RIGHT].” He’s holding the belly of a guitar like it’s filled with the space his coffin will hold. I hope James Taylor’s people don’t reach out to me. That would feel like the iciest skeletal racoon-penis bone-finger cresting the miles between me and my coffin. I just googled James Taylor illness — I wasn’t the first — to make sure he was OK, that these disassociated speculations aren’t out of line. I think I’m OK. [“THRESHING” THE MILES? Fine]. Groundwater seeps through like tears……

God, I’m just kidding. Last night’s dream — I wish I could offer more details — I was using my penis like a frosting gun. I wrote phrases in unspeakable places in a festive birthday-cake cursive. In frosted semen. Pretty gross.

The Lonely Dads of Noe Valley

Even though I quit my job of eight years I am not unemployed though I am certainly not overemployed and there are things I should be doing but today it feels impossible to do them. I have been scooping the internet too hard and now my voice is stuck in this breathless Tweety Drescherian whine.  I went for a run and then took a bath even though I tell myself I care about California water issues. It’s my hippie landlord’s fault for installing, in the 1970s, a bath with no standing room. Now I’m going to get a haircut. What will my kids think? They’re so ashamed of their father. I finally opened the 80-oz pickle container I bought in a moment of ecstatic hysteria from Safeway last month. Part of the problem is that after reading this terrific interview I decided to give veganism a shot even though it’s a colossal pain in the ass. Then I realized that there was a whole breathless funny vegan hemisphere of the internet that wanted tapping and so I hit it. Now it’s 4:24 p.m. Time for a haircut? Can I buy a vegan pot cookie from you?

Drubbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb’d

My very close friend Andrew Leland has started blogging for the Oakland Museum of California. He only has three posts up; he has been very shy about it. The link is here. I was with him when he saw that the most recent post had gone up, and he was like, “This reads like a college newspaper column. I hate myself.”

“Andrew,” I told him. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s great.”

“Really?” He said. So self-obsessed, so delicate. “Thanks.”

The blog isn’t bad. He’s trying. He also told me he recently tried writing fiction, because a young lion who edits a young lionesian quarterly asked him to submit something. “Writing fiction is excruciating,” he reports. “I spent a week forcing myself to write 750 words a day. Then I went two months without thinking about it. I returned to the document I had created, and my wonderful girlfriend had to pry the screwdriver out of my hands before I plunged it into my eye sockets.” Writing nonfiction isn’t much easier, he added, but then when it’s done, he feels happy.

Last Saturday, Andrew and I were hanging out at his apartment in San Francisco. I had my tape recorder, and we thought it would be fun to record our conversation. Last night I couldn’t sleep, so I transcribed it.

ME: That’s not why dogs are neutered, Andrew. [Laughter]

ANDREW: Just kidding.

ME: I adore your shoes!!

AL: I love you. I wish I could smoke pot

just kidding, that’s not a real transcript. Tonight is the Oakland Standard’s launch party — officially selected by Good Jobbbbbbbbbbbb: The Online Journal of Success as the number-one Friday Night social calendar PICK for Friday, February 4. The Tammy-Rae MacArthur Genius Kutundu-Wajahat Mother Novella Carpenter’s Gothic part starts at 8, then Turf Fienz at I wanna say 9, then Chelsea Clinton’s Wedding DJ (seriously, literally) at whenever everything else is over. It’s free, it’ll go till 1, one is advised to “come through.” One block from Lake Merritt BART. Alcohol, bikes, leggings. At least three generations of Americans, dancing.