Thursday, October 27, 2005

Buy pharmaceuticals from Canada…

And terrorist might kill you.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America or PhRMA was to supposedly pay Phoenix Books to write a book about, “a group of shadowy terrorists conspires to murder thousands of Americans by poisoning the medicine they're importing from Canada to beat U.S. drug prices.”

As they say on South Park, “
Simpsons did it.”

When your ATM tells you not to drink...

ATM machines on British university campuses will now carry ad’s warning the youngsters not to drink too much. The message "Enjoy your night. Take it easy" will appear on the screen while the students wait to take their money and will again be printed on their receipts. This really works against the owners of the ATM machines. If they take it easy, they’ll stop using ATM machines, and stop incurring five dollar charges for each separate withdrawal.

I have a proposal. I think the ad should read, “Do you really need another twenty? Stop while you’re ahead.”

All the fuss over Google Print

Google is a giant. We all knew that when we got sucked into the gmail marketing scheme of exclusivity, that Google was going to take over the world. Now we’re all obsessed with googling strange people and telling everyone to sign up for google earth so they can see a satellite shot of their block. Now Google has Google Video (which allows you to upload videos for free, see Ben for more on that one.) and Google Print, which is making huge waves in the publishing industry. Google print scans in books and then allows readers to scan the text for certain words. It, on one hand does not allow the reader to look at each page from beginning to end, but if you search for a characters name (which most likely appears on every page) you can have access to the entire book. Google claims that the public will not have full access to copyrighted material. I say, where there’s a will there’s a way.

Publishers are
suing Google because Google Print violates copyright laws. Authors are, of course, afraid of loosing royalties, just like publishers are afraid of lower books sales. Google might become the napster of books, although it never stopped people from downloading.

Making any type of art free to the public is a very delicate subject. Art is getting to the point that it has become inaccessible to people of lower classes, if someone can’t afford to buy a CD then they can’t listen to music, if they can’t afford to buy a book, they can have access to libraries although, from personal experience, they can be lacking in content. On the other hand as an artist it is important to be able to live off your work. Especially for writers who aren’t Stephen King, Danielle Steele, or J. K. Rowling. So there you have it. The conundrum of the day.

Check out
Maud’s piece about lower income consumers and online books stores. Also worth note is an article printed in the Wall Street journal by a writer in favor of Google Print. Via Chekov’s Mistress.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

People use books to make them look smart.

Go figure.

Guardian reports One in three has bought a book just to look intelligent. Although this appears to be a British survey since Americans don’t read, I’m sure if you hung around any liberal college you’d find a bunch of youngsters carrying heavy works of fiction or philosophy that most of them haven’t read. Geek is chic.

Village Voice Faces Hostile Take Over

Well maybe nothing that dramatic.

Village Voice Media will be merging with New Times to create the largest alternative newspaper network. There are, of course, concerns about the papers content that CEO David Schneiderman addressed in a company memo, stating:
I am sure most of you are aware of the bizarre charge that this merger will mark the end of alternative journalism. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Both Village Voice Media and New Times have earned a reputation for producing first-rate journalism. Both companies support and encourage their journalists to expose corruption, hypocrisy and incompetence wherever they find it. It defies logic to assert that those traditions will be undermined or abandoned as a result of this merger. In fact, I fully expect them to be strengthened.
Having read the Dallas Observer, which is a publication of New Times Media, for most of my teenage years, I was already convinced that the two were already an item. Though I understand the need for alarm and concern because the word corporate and merger are being used, having actually seen a New Times Media paper I’m not sure if the change will be that drastic. The papers produced by New Times are also free, and run on ads. Critics argue that the New Times papers tend to have a more neutral approach than papers such as the Village Voice, I suggest checking out an article for yourself.

Goodbye Ms. Parks (1913-2005)

Rosa Parks passed away yesterday, at ninety-two. She died from natural causes with her close friends and relatives around her bedside.

I am sad for her passing, but glad for her long life and the sacrifices she made, whether intentionally or not, that helped make it possible for many that came after her to have basic human rights.

Happy Tuesday

Officially been one delinquent week. One entire week of debauchery and visiting friends and watching too much porn and hanging with the fellows.

One week of waking up every morning and wondering what happened the night before.

One Cold Rainy Week. But none the less glad to be back in attendance. Between being busy at work and having friends all around it was getting a little more difficult to focus on anything.

I’ve decided to change the way the posts are headed, it has come to my attention that should this blog continue a post titled “Post Number Twenty Three Hundred and Seventy Five” just isn’t as catch as “Happy Tuesday”. Also it is a little more difficult to look at the right side bar and locate a post about something if you don’t know which number it is. I am also attempting to add categories, we’ll see how that goes. Blogger doesn’t support categories, I’m way less than tech-savvy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Post Number Twenty-two*

*Tidbits, for a busy day

Post Number Twenty-One*

*Kill the Warhol Cliché

Paul McLeary from the
Columbia Journalism Reviw writes about the abundant use of clichés in journalism:
Sure, with the pressure of filing several stories a week, it's tempting to recycle some ideas or rely on the crutch of cliché -- if for no other reason than to pad the word count a bit. Still, it's hard to take when a writer for a major publication lazily tosses a weak cliché into one of their pieces.
Yesterday, we ran across a double book review in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times (granted, not necessarily the place to go looking for literary criticism), that borrowed a quote so tired, so hackneyed, it made even our cynical eyes wince:
Forty years ago Andy Warhol predicted that "in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes." A decade later he revised that to "in 15 minutes everyone will be famous." Now the concept gets another update: With eight words, Periel Aschenbrand will be famous.
The Warhol quote. When will we be finished with the Warhol quote? It has to be one of the most abused American utterances of the last 50 years. It's everywhere -- and has been everywhere -- for as long as we can remember, and given that it can hardly teach us anything we don't already know, we respectfully call for its retirement.
Sounds like someone is “beating a dead horse”.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Post Number Twenty

*The Best of the Best

Times Magazine compiles list of
the 100 best English language novels from 1923. It’s an interesting mix of novels that includes a link to a short description of the book and the original reviews. (Via TEV)

Post Number Nineteen

Happy Monday

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Post Number Eighteen*

*The Disappearing Template--and other highs and lows

Yeah, you’ve guessed it. My template simply disappeared without warning after I published about the Nobel Prize. Maybe
someone out there doesn’t want people to know about Pinter. Or maybe it’s just another tick in the long list of what has gone wrong today.

It seems that today is the day of minor annoyances. Whether it’s only having a pair of tube socks to wear with your dress pants, or you template disappearing, or being fifteen to twenty minutes late to work because after you took a shower you fell back asleep, or the CEO trying to strangle you with your scarf because it’s “funny” or the rain, the never ending rain. I miss Texas where the forecast reads: Mostly cloudy. Highs in the mid 80s. Northeast winds 5 to 10 mph. Not: Rain. Areas of fog. Rain may be heavy at times. Highs in the lower 60s. Northeast winds 15 to 20 mph.

Besides that, I got a nod from my favorite critic, who was impressed, but we’re apparently still crossing wires.

**I’m really sorry about the whining, it’s the weather I’ll feel better Wednesday. Until then I'll probably head home and listen to the soundtrack of the greatest movie ever made.

Post Number Seventeen*

*Nobel Prize for Literature is Announced

After all the
fuss (which even included a resignation because of a past winner) the build up to this years Nobel Prize for Literature was more exciting than an episode of Lost.

I would love to speak with some authority about the work of this years winner, playwright, author, sometimes actor/director, and more recently
poet, Harold Pinter, but since I haven’t been around the literary block too many times, I can only act as a spiritual channel between those in the know and the rest of us poor schleps. Think links galore.

This one is my favorite, although it’s got nothing to do with the prize. You can go here for that. They also have pieces in theNY Times and CNN.

Either way, from what I’ve read about him he sounds like a swell guy, or maybe I’m just partial to war activist.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Post Number Sixteen

Auctorial Doppelgangers.

Definitely worth the chuckle.
Right Angelica Houston
Left Anne Rice

Post Number Fifteen*

*God told me to invade Iraq (a brief break for bush bashing**)

Either Dubya Bush is Mosses or the Anti-Christ. If you haven’t checked this out (it’s probably on every left leaning blog by now) then you definitely should take a look at
it now.
Nabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"
Of course he says God told him to invade Iraq. Of course he sounds like one of the raving lunatics that we see on New York corners while quickly walking by and averting our eyes. Of course he’s going to go start a war in Israel (isn’t that prophesized in Revelations, a crazy American president will start a war in the Holy Land and it will mark the beginning of the End Of Days).

My only consolation: He can’t be elected a third time.
Although, you never know, the system of checks and balances that I learned about in Government haven’t stood up that well against him in the past. We might have a full scale dictatorship on our hands.

**Very unconscious alliteration

Post Number Fourteen*


  • Blogging is therapeutic. One hospital dedicates web space to patient’s blogs. And I thought it was just cool. Washington Post.
  • Jacqueline Wilson’s pre-teen books sound like just what American girls need, as opposed to say another Britney Spears book. To bad her books aren’t selling here.
  • African American and New Orleans native jazz musicians speak out about the response to Hurricane Katrina and the future of an artform. Salon.
  • From an essay on tobacco-information websites run by the Chinese government in Harpers Magazine:
    People often ascribe the inability to quit smoking to a weak will. In reality, it is well known that many great men smoked, like Churchill, Mao Zedong, etc. The smokers all around us now are also people of outstanding character. They have a great deal of determination and strength. The courage that they show in the face of unforeseen events—a courage that many nonsmokers are unable to muster—is unforgettable.
    I’ve sent this to everyone who scolded me when I relapsed in my struggle to quit smoking (I’ve quit again anyway).

Post Number Thirteen*

*First Annual Quills Award to Air on NBC

Everyone gets their wish, a televised book award in America, well at least in some parts anyway.
NBC has picked up the already announced Quills Award
to air October 22.

Gypsman over at had this to say :

With NBC signed on as their media sponsor and broadcast partner they seem all set to deliver an awards program that will bring sparkle and glitz to the previously staid world of publishing. With the integration of popular opinion into the process, they hope to generate renewed enthusiasm for the written word.
While it cannot be denied that there is the appearance of self-serving behind these awards, to be fair there are very few awards which are not industry generated. Why shouldn’t the book industry celebrate itself in the same manner as other mainstays of entertainment?
While some may decry this as simply a popularity contest without any basis on literary merit that argument weakens in the face of the selection process before voting begins. Besides, what’s wrong with having an award for books based on popular opinion? There are sufficient book awards already that are supposedly based on merit, for those authors whose work is gifted but not bestseller material, to be appreciated.
I think I’m quite prone to agree with him since the announced winner for Book of the Year: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and while I would hate to speak bad of Ms. Rowlings, giving her the Book of the Year Award is like giving the Oscar for Movie of the Year to Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith.

John Stewart also took an award for best Audio (as well as best comedy book) and Kim Cattrall, Candace Bushnell and Martha Stewart were all there to present.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Post Number Twelve*

*Booker Prize 2005 Announced

Irish writer John Banville has one the 50,000-pound Booker Prize for fiction.
Speaking last night at the Guildhall, Banville said winning was "a great surprise, a great pleasure". He said his advice to other authors was "just hang around and it will come. I hung around for many years and it did come."

The Irish Times reports that he is the first Irish winner since Roddy Doyle won with Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha in 1993.

Post Number Eleven*

*Department of WTF

Speaking of Ms. Smith, I just found this lovely piece on Moorish Girl about a recent reading in Portland:
The Q&A proceeded in a rather textbook fashion ("How do you write?" "What are you reading at the moment?" "Which writers have influenced you?" etc.) Then a gentleman sitting in the balcony asked her how she felt about "normalizing black people."

(I am not making this up.)

Though Smith appeared to be bewildered by the question, she remained gracious, and calmly responded that she doesn't see what would be wrong with that, because she herself feels very normal [a round of applause].

I’m so thankful to Zadie, if it wasn’t for her readers I might have no idea that I was abnormal in the first place.

Post Number Ten*

*On Beauty

Finished one of the
most talked about books of 2005 (which is also short listed for The Man Booker Prize, to be announced today). She’s quite the celebrity of literature, whether because of her comments about Britain in a recent interview or her good looks or her weird case of mistaken identity.

Whatever the subject, Zadie Smith is regarded as an undeniably talented writer. I swallowed On Beauty over the weekend, and was delighted to find that it lived up to the hype in the most gratifying and surprising way. The language is quick and intelligent. Although at times she stumbles over American dialogue, it was quickly forgiven since more often than not she was pretty spot on. What I admired most about Ms. Smith was her ability to write an amazing cast of multicultural characters, without sticking to cardboard clichés found in so many books lining the shelves today. The ability to write about race as it is, spanning class lines and ideological views is one of her greatest gifts, and although race is by no means the focus of this book it plays an integral part in understanding the way the characters react to the world around them.
Some reviewers have remarked that On Beauty is a novel of ideas, which is to say it wears them on its sleeve as opposed to fiction whose ideas are more imbued or implied. That description, however, takes the treatise-like title too seriously and shortchanges the Belseys’ explosive confrontations and inner-turmoil, exposed in simple, delicate layers. Smith does raise debated ideas—freedom of speech, affirmative action, critical theory, and more abstract principles like beauty and justice—at pivotal turning points but does not flesh out their contested aspects in great detail. Smith’s intelligence and talent lie in her ability to empathize and think through feeling; therefore, thankfully, the book expects readers to emotionally graph the issues and not analyze them as intricate, ideological wallpaper against which the action occurs. The true novel of ideas is much more politicized than On Beauty, which, like Kiki, does not dive headlong into the political but wades into the shallow end.

As Kiki makes clear, despite questions from the outside of the marriage looking in, the book is primarily a novel of situational characterization and social as well as class differences. Race, of course, is a fundamental part of the novel, but it is secondary to other degrees of difference—a refreshing variation on a theme when labels and classifications in fiction are all the fashion. In certain ways, Smith’s characters are more authentically black because they inhabit a novel whose class borders are fluid. Racial identity is explored and preserved not because they encounter a spectrum of social and class difference but because they have been enhanced by it.

Via The Simon as reviewed by Alan Williams.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Post Number Nine

Safely made it to work this morning. Which was some kind of wonder considering the hightened terror threat for the New York City subway system.

A coworker and I discussed the use of random bag searches, which aren’t at every stop and of course not every one gets searched (see random) and
don’t seem very effective, except to maybe syke-out some unsuspecting terrorist’s suicidal mind.

Unfortunately some of the powers that be seem to think that some bomb toting “evil-doers” will enter the train at 42nd street or 34th street, assuming they can afford the gazillion dollar rent, opposed to one of the other 4 outer lying boroughs, where I’ve never seen a random search.

Rock on.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Post Number Eight*


Are you planning on flying for the holidays. Well fugitaboutit. It’s hopeless. Even the economy airlines such as Southwest, Jet Blue and Air Tran Airways are raising ticket prices due to the
hike in jet fuel prices.

I must officially say that no one is getting anything for Christmas if I fly home. My presence is my gift.

Post Number Seven*

*Schiavo books due out March 2006

Terry Schiavo’s parents and siblings are writing a book, due to hit shelves on the anniversary of her death in March. They’re donating the precedes to their foundation to protect severely disabled people.

Michael Schiavo is also set to
co-write a book to be released the same month called Terrie-The Truth. Unfortunately this will be the third book published by people who aren’t trying to capitalize on her death

I won’t say this makes me sick to my stomach, that might be a bi-product of the large amount of New England Clam Chowder I’ve just consumed for lunch, but I’m sure this doesn’t help much.

Post Number Six*

*BoldType Blog

Following the Self Made issue edited by
Maud and Mark (the two most trafficked literary blogs that spawned a bunch of wannabes such as myself) of Boldtype, the monthly email book review mag by the creators of Flavor Pill, has created it’s first blog. I have high hopes and have included is a link under the “Some things I kind of Like” heading.**

**which should be titled people I kind of want to have blogs like or the people I will model my blog after but hope to eventually develop a style all my own akin to the “voice” you find when writing.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Post Number Five

I should have been blogging last night, but the server was down. Besides I was a little too concerned with a dysfunctional friendship that I’m currently trying to rekindle. She happens to be one of the aforementioned ungoogleables, which is good because I would probably include a link here to whatever site she might be on.

She’s a great person who every once in a while I just don’t get along with for various reasons, which I’d rather not go into online because we’re going to make up over the next few months (like always) and it’s better not to incriminate yourself.

Instead I’d much rather make wisecracks about the flustered chick-lit heroine I’ve become. You know the type, always in slight disarray, messy hair, spills coffee on her blouse (like I did yesterday) or her pants (like I did today), always works with impossibly flawless yet mean and vindictive women but somehow manages to be cute and win the guy anyway. I woke up and realized that for the last few weeks I haven’t been a person in the “normal” sense, I’ve been a caricature of some one I read in a
not so great book (I know, I’m not supposed to read that trash, but I was young and wayward, and everybody reads bad books sometimes, except really, really cool people). I have become the girl who digs for two hours in a bag that’s half my own body weight for a pack of cigarettes I no longer have. I walk around all day with a coffee stained shirt and only half the people notice.

At some point I know I need to stop thinking of myself in those terms, but those books have
ruined the lives of many young wayward girls.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Post Number Four*


Sign up now for
National Novel Writing Month through October 30th. The goal is to write a 175 page (50,000-word) novel over the course of 30 days beginning November 1st and ending midnight November 30th.

I recently told a co-worker about this "contest" which has no prize and affords you no recognition, outside the community of the website. He wondered how many famous novels had been published by writers from past contestants or if any of the novels entered had been published, and I realized how many people will miss the point.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

It's not really about recognition, although I guess that idea is lost on alot of Hipsters. Whether or not your a beginning writer or just trying to get your creative juices flowing, NaNoWriMo seems like a good way for the less than motivated to set a deadline and see what happens.

Of course if you're just interested in the fame and fortune there are plenty of
other contests with deadlines in November that might offer more.

Post Number Three*

*News, shorts and other tidbits
  • Black American playwright August Wilson has died of liver cancer. One of only seven Americans to win two Pulitzer Prize, he also had two plays running on Broadway at the simultaneously, Fences (with James Earl Jones) and Joe Turner's Come and Gone. Via Guardian

  • The UnGoogleables raising internet awareness. Just as I suspected there are a group of people who purposefully avoid having an on-line presence. Among them are most of my ex-boyfriends, estranged friends and my mother.
    These unGoogleables don't post online, blog, publish or build web pages using their own names. They're careful about revealing information to businesses, belong to few organizations that can leak personal data, and never submit online resumes -- all common ways that Google captures your data.

  • Three legged mutts attract women. I waiver on readability of New York Magazine online articles from week to week, but an Allen Sakins Which Dogs Attract the Most Women was impossible to resist.
    Rudy, the three-legged mutt:
    Please do not consider sawing off a dog's leg but if you did, you'd improve your luck. Rudy, a mix of German shepherd, Airedale terrier, chow chow, and Rottweiler, has pretty much every scary dog in his pedigree. But sans a leg, he's a female sympathy sponge. As we limped toward the dog run in Union Square, I heard from a bench, Ooh, look at the poor fellow, and turned to meet Alexandra, 29, a dimple-cheeked publishing intern visiting New York from Berlin. "He's cute," she said. So was she. Rudy's drawback is that he inspires everyone, landing me in conversations with deliverymen, homeless folks, and megaphone preachers. He also did what a lot of dogs do: sniff indiscriminately at the genitals of other dogs.

    This guy strikes me as the a bit of a pervert but I wonder how many guys I know actually think like this.

  • Celebrate the like a Beatnik. Do drugs, drink wine and/or whisky and read poetry with your closest friends. October 7th marks the 50th Anniversary of the first reading of Howl. P&W.
    There were about a hundred and fifty people in the audience, including Jack Kerouac, who brought wine and shouted encouragement to the readers. Ginsberg, who was twenty-nine at the time, was next to last. When he launched into the long, mad, incantatory poem titled Howl, some say American poetry was changed forever

    Check out part one of everyone's favorite poem.

Post Number Two*

*Sleepless in New York

Of course as it would happen with the start of a new Blog also comes the lack of energy to actually create posts.

Sunday night I fell asleep near four o'clock in the morning only to be followed with another sleepless night yesterday, due to a close friend's unfortunate incident last night and my cat's, less unfortunate in comparison, torturing of a teeny mouse. Hopefully starting today I'll actually be able to a) get some rest and b) make a couple of semi-interesting post.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Post Number One

Until recently I have avoided Blogs like the plague I believed them to be, that is of course until I read the artsy literary blogs here and here. Feeling slighty inspired I decided that I could do this. I could be the next Maud Newton (well not really, but I can be entertained by the fabulous Maud Newton and then try in turn to emulate her). Of course in order to become the next Maud I'd need to actually need to review a book or the very least I could mention what I'm reading. Unfortunately, though its late, I'm tired and I haven't the energy to describe books.

We all know that's why I'll never be the next Maud.