Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Phil Ochs - There But For Fortune (live 1964)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Snowpiercer (2013)


the fuck did I just watch even

what? What

It's all kind of a big whirring bloody blur but according to T I said things like:

"This movie is weird."

"Okay, this is very very weird."

"This movie is tripping balls."

Uh. It was very well-done and very pretty! Even the balletic sequences with slow-mo and masked dudes with axes and blood drops flying around? But I don't think I'll ever see it again. And the end was like the end of Matrix Reloaded all over again. WHY, DIRECTORS, WHY. Why do you have a Godlike Figure Explaining It All in the final fifteen minutes? Gahhh.

Resident Scientist in the House says: "If a hundred people didn't survive they're going to have a mutational meltdown in a couple of generations due to Muller's ratchet anyway." WELL THAT'S NICE DEAR

Friday, September 25, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chris Gillen 1970-2015

And then after all that thinking about death, I found out (a month late) a college friend died suddenly, in his sleep, at 45 (heart attack I guess). I was shocked all the way down to the soles of my shoes.

Even when we think we know, we don't know.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Nirvana - Lithium (Live at Reading 1992)

Neil Young & Pearl Jam - Rockin' In The Free World 1993

Neil Young - Rockin' In The Free World (Glastonbury 2009)

Pearl Jam - Keep On Rockin' In The Free World (Live At Pinkpop)

out of the blue and into the black / once you're gone you can't come back

Sheff: You disagree with Neil Young's lyric in Rust Never Sleeps: "It's better to burn out than to fade away..."

Lennon: I hate it. It's better to fade away like an old soldier than to burn out. If he was talking about burning out like Sid Vicious, forget it. I don't appreciate the worship of dead Sid Vicious or of dead James Dean or dead John Wayne. It's the same thing. Making Sid Vicious a hero, Jim Morrison – it's garbage to me. I worship the people who survive – Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo. They're saying John Wayne conquered cancer – he whipped it like a man. You know, I'm sorry that he died and all that – I'm sorry for his family – but he didn't whip cancer. It whipped him. I don't want Sean worshiping John Wayne or Johnny Rotten or Sid Vicious. What do they teach you? Nothing. Death. Sid Vicious died for what? So that we might rock? I mean, it's garbage you know. If Neil Young admires that sentiment so much, why doesn't he do it? Because he sure as hell faded away and came back many times, like all of us. No, thank you. I'll take the living and the healthy.

- Playboy, 1980

Read this. Read all of it. Now.

Not only are female MFA students at high risk of sexual harassment, they remain dramatically underrepresented in many of the aspects of literary culture that they might enter after graduation, that they might need to get tenure. They get less prize money. They show up less often in anthologies. Their books are reviewed less often and they are reviewers less often. While total MFA and undergraduate creative writing degree recipients identify as women close to 70 percent of the time, neither the writers for mainstream media nor the authors published by small presses nor the winners of major prizes are 70 percent women. Instead, they are around 70 percent men. The percentage is exactly flipped in all those arenas where one might obtain something, from visibility to wages. The intensity of the disparity is numerically intense and repetitive. 

....While we do not have data specific to creative writing faculty, a 2011 AAUP report shows that full-time tenure track faculty were 58 percent male that year, and a 2009 study by the National Center for Education Statistics shows that women make up 51 percent of all adjunct faculty. A more recent, smaller survey by the Coalition on the Academic Workforce, in which adjuncts self identified, shows the proportion of female adjunct faculty to be closer to 60 percent. Again, race and gender orbit around the same planet but at different rotations and rates. A report by the American Federation of Teachers notes that “underrepresented racial and ethnic groups are even more likely to be relegated to contingent positions; only 10.4 percent of all faculty positions are held by underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and of these, 7.6 percent — or 73 percent of the total minority faculty population — are contingent positions.” It’s often noted that in the 1970s 30 percent of faculty in higher education were contingent and that this percentage has since flipped, such that contingent faculty now comprise 70 percent of all faculty in higher education. The faculty in the 1970s was mostly white and male. The erosion of tenure has overlapped precisely with the entrance of women and those who do not identify as white.

- 'The Program Era and the Mainly White Room'

Sunday, September 20, 2015

none of you ever get to fucking criticize poor dead Stieg Larsson's writing ever again

As a child he sought refuge in his own worlds. He immersed himself in fantasy literature, read poetry and biographies, adored Sylvia Plath, Borges and Tolkien and learned everything there was to know about computers. He dreamed of writing heart-rending novels about love and human tragedy, and was an incurable romantic who hoped that great passion would heal his wounds. He was not in the least bit interested in the outside world.

- The Girl in the Spider's Web

(Also there has been like ONE mention of Billy's Pan Pizza. Maybe two.)

another GIANT backlog of books wished for

Power, Resistance and Liberation in Therapy with Survivors of Trauma, Taiwo Afuape
The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories, Joan Aiken
Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad, M.T. Anderson
The Full Catastrophe: Travels Among the New Greek Ruins, James Angelos
Lady Susan, Jane Austen (audiobook read by full cast)

The Great Influenza, John M. Barry
America: What Went Wrong?, Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele
The Betrayal of the American Dream, Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele
The Sick Rose: Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration, Richard Barnett
Ted Hughes, Jonathan Bate
The Howling Man, Charles Beaumont
Dancing with the Devil in the City of God, Juliana Barbassa
Jack the Ripper: The Forgotten Victims, Paul Begg
The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You, S. Bear Bergman
The Food Matters Cookbook, Mark Bittman
Leafy Greens, Mark Bittman
A Singer's Notebook, Ian Bostridge
Grimms' Bad Girls and Bold Boys: The Moral and Social Vision of the Tales, Ruth B. Bottigheimer
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, Don Brown (hard copy)
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir, Carrie Brownstein
Days of Rage, Bryan Burrough
Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, Edwin G. Burrows

John Clare and the Bounds of Circumstance, Johanne Clare
New York Observed: Artists and Writers Look at the City, 1650 to the Present, Barbara Cohen
Hearts Grown Brutal, Roger Cohen
At the Sharp End, Tim Cook
Soldiers in Revolt: GI Resistance during the Vietnam War, David Cortright
Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, Elvis Costello
Wilfred Owen, Guy Cuthbertson

Custer Died for Your Sins, Vine DeLoria
We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction (Everyman's Library), Joan Didion
What I Don't Know About Animals, Jenny Diski
The Clockwork Universe, Edward Dolnick
How Dante Can Save Your Life, Rod Dreher

The Ghost in My Brain: How a Concussion Stole My Life and How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Helped Me Get It Back, Clark Elliott

Breaking the News, James Fallows
Victorian Afterlives: The Shaping of Influence in Nineteenth-Century Literature, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst
Unpleasant Ways to Die, Elan Fleisher
Running with Monsters, Bob Forrest
Bitter Greens, Kate Forsyth
A Dance with Jane Austen: How a Novelist and Her Characters Went to the Ball, Susannah Fullerton

The Keats Brothers: The Life of John and George, Denise Gigante
Vita, Victoria Glendinning
Murder and Mendelssohn, Kerry Greenwood
One Life: My Mother's Story, Kate Grenville

George Frideric Handel: A Life with Friends, Ellen T. Harris
Mozart, Hayden, and Early Beethoven, Daniel Heartz
Magic and Loss, Virginia Heffernan
Strange Meeting, Susan Hill
Hippocratic Writings (Penguin Classics)
Augustus John: The New Biography, Michael Holroyd
The Porcelain Thief, Huan Hsu
A Companion to Greek and Roman Sexualities, ed. Thomas K. Hubbard
The Turning: A History of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Andrew E. Hunt
Reckless: My Life as a Pretender, Chrissie Hynde

David Koresh Superstar: An Unfilmable Screenplay, Simon Indelicate
David Koresh Superstar: Lyric Book, Simon Indelicate
Eleven Short Plays, William Inge
Four Plays, William Inge

Empire City: New York Through the Centuries, Kenneth T. Jackson
A Fine Brush on Ivory: An Appreciation of Jane Austen, Richard Jenkyns
What Doesn't Kill Us: The New Psychology of Posttraumatic Growth, Stephen Joseph

The Great Mortality, John Kelly
The Longest Winter, Alex Kershaw
Clara's War, Clara Kramer

Jane Austen: The World of her Novels, Deirdre LeFaye
The Lives of the Greek Poets, Mary Lefkowitz
A Life in Books, Warren Lehrer
Wounded Minds: Understanding and Solving the Growing Menace of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, John Liebert
In War's Dark Shadow: The Russians Before the Great War, W. Bruce Lincoln
The Iliad, Homer (new tr. by Stanley Lombardo)
The Singer of Tales, Albert B. Lord
Faces in the Crowd, Valeria Luiselli
Sidewalks, Valeria Luiselli

Mystery Train, Greil Marcus
Loving Someone with PTSD, Aphrodite T. Matsakis
At War with PTSD, Robert N. McLay
A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities, J.C. McKeown
Plagues and Peoples, William H. McNeill
Better to Have Loved: The Life of Judith Merril, Judith Merril and Emily Pohl-Weary
The Knife Man, Wendy Moore
My Five Cambridge Friends, Yuri Modin
And If I Perish: Frontline U.S. Army Nurses in World War II, Evelyn Monahan
The Chaperone, Laura Moriarty
The New Winter Soldiers: GI and Veteran Dissent during the Vietnam Era, Richard Moser
The Last Town on Earth, Thomas Mullen
The Revisionists, Thomas Muller
What Nurses Know...PTSD, Mary E. Muscari

Grim Tales, E. Nesbit
The Power of Darkness, E. Nesbit
The Doctors' Plague: Germs, Childbed Fever, and the Strange Story of Ignac Semmelweis, Sherwin B. Nuland

A History of Greece, Victor Parker
The Beautiful Bureaucrat, Helen Phillips
Pale Horse, Pale Rider, Katherine Anne Porter
The Grass Dancer, Susan Power
Mrs Bradshaw's Handbook, Terry Pratchett

Smokejumper, Jason A. Ramos
The Black Count, Tom Reiss
Katrina: After the Flood, Gary Rivlin
The Quilt: Stories from the Names Project, Cindy Ruskin

The Witch of Stalingrad, Justine Saracen
Thunder Through My Veins, Gregory Scofield
Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character, Jonathan Shay
Talking to Girls about Duran Duran, Rob Sheffield
The Greenlanders, Jane Smiley
M Train, Patti Smith
Getting Away With It: Or: The Further Adventures of the Luckiest Bastard You Ever Saw, Steven Soderbergh
Wild Girls, Diana Souhami
My Life on the Road, Gloria Steinem
The Price of Inequality, Joseph E. Stiglitz
Desert Reckoning, Deanne Stillman
Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph, Jan Swafford
The Voice of the Dolphins and Other Stories, Leo Szilard

The Mourner's Song: War and Remembrance from the Iliad to Vietnam, James Tatum
Behind Hitler's Lines, Thomas H. Taylor
Blue-Eyed Boy, Robert Timberg
The Nightingale's Song, Robert Timberg
Notebooks & Journals, Volume I: 1855-1873, Mark Twain

The Women who Spied for Britain, Robyn Walker
The Martyrs of Columbine, Justin Watson
Universal Horrors: The Studio's Classic Films, 1931-1946, Tom Weaver
The Real Traviata, Rene Weis
America's Secret Jihad, Stuart Wexler
Table Talk of Oscar Wilde, audiobook read by Tom Baker
Landfalls, Naomi J. Williams

Goddess of Love Incarnate: The Life of Stripteuse Lili St. Cyr, Leslie Zemeckis

Monday, September 14, 2015

Perhaps the cause of our contemporary pessimism is our tendency to view history as a turbulent stream of conflicts — between individuals in economic life, between groups in politics, between creeds in religion, between states in war. This is the more dramatic side of history; it captures the eye of the historian and the interest of the reader. But if we turn from that Mississippi of strife, hot with hate and dark with blood, to look upon the banks of the stream, we find quieter but more inspiring scenes: women rearing children, men building homes, peasants drawing food from the soil, artisans making the conveniences of life, statesmen sometimes organizing peace instead of war, teachers forming savages into citizens, musicians taming our hearts with harmony and rhythm, scientists patiently accumulating knowledge, philosophers groping for truth, saints suggesting the wisdom of love. History has been too often a picture of the bloody stream. The history of civilization is a record of what happened on the banks.

-- Will Durant

Friday, September 11, 2015

This is not a story about 9/11.

I wasn't there. I was across the country. I remember getting up and hearing the news on my alarm clock radio saying something about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center, and I thought it was an accident with a private prop plane, surely, and then I had to hurry to get to work, and on the bus people were confused and groggy and thinking about what they had to do at work that day, and everything was still garbled. Two planes? At once? No way. This was before iPhones, before Twitter, before YouTube. (I was apparently one of the very few people in a workplace without access to a TV set or radio, and even when it became clear what had happened, what was happening, our boss's boss, El Jefe I called him, came out and said What's happened is awful but we shouldn't let it distract us from what we need to do today. No, really. People got even less work done after that, out of resentful spite.) All the news sites were down; I was getting some news from Metafilter, but even that was patchy. At least two coworkers just left because they had relatives in the Columbia Center, which was the tallest building on the West Coast at the time and had been evacuated (I think later the 9/11 Commission confirmed it was a possible target, which, fucking duh, but what was freaking people out was the so-called Millennium Plot). I didn't see the footage everyone else had been watching on loop all day until I got home, by which time I was really dreading it. But I watched it along with everyone else anyway.

But even then, I didn't really see it, because as usual I had gotten off the bus about eight blocks past my stop so I could go right into the grocery store, get two bottles of wine (two liter bottles of wine, let's be clear here) and then walk back to my house, because it was faster than getting off at my stop, saying hi to T, relaxing, and then going out and getting the wine. That's the addict mentality for you: the sacrifice of whatever else in service of the fastest hit. And if you think I opened the wine as soon as I got home before even taking my coat off, you are correct. So I watched the same stuff everyone else had been watching all day, except I didn't really take it in, and I don't really remember what I did. Not quite a blackout, more like memory cutting in and out, but close. I know I cried, but I didn't feel it. That night is erased, a vague patchy blank, which was the point. I might have even gotten more drunk than usual (if that was possible at that point) because of the terrible thing which had happened, because that's a perfect excuse for an addict, and is embarrassing to admit even now. T probably had three or four glasses, if that. I had all the rest. And passed out on the sofa in front of the TV, and then later on, I guess, woke up, undressed, and passed out again in bed. Most people weren't there, they were all virtual witnesses, unable to escape the endless video. But I hadn't been there even for the virtual part.

I don't like saying that I sobered up "because of" 9/11 because I didn't; I didn't quit until April 1, 2002, about six months later. I do know a few people who sobered up on September 12th, 2001. Not many. I also don't like saying it because it feels fucking tacky: I used this national tragedy, which resulted in the immediate deaths of thousands of people and eventual death of millions more, and changed history and global politics permanently, to improve my tiny individual life! Go me! But what stuck with me was the image of the people who worked at the same university where I did at the time, riding our express bus to get to work, not knowing what was happening, while it was going on. Utterly clueless. In that sense we'd been the same as the people running to catch subways, to cross against lights, to pass that one slow bastard, in New York, or, just six years earlier, in Oklahoma City, or other places. The truth is we all die, and we don't know when or how. It could be at any moment. The other truth is, we don't know this; we can't know it. The idea of life as placid, routine, boring, even, is an expensive fiction, a beautiful lie, one propped up by a lot of other lies. But occasionally the truth punches through, usually catastrophically: You don't have the time to waste that you think you do. Those thousands of people who died, in the Towers, they were rushing to work, not thinking about anything big, probably, worrying about spilling coffee, about the mid-morning meeting, about the quarterly figures, all those little things. And then they went through unimaginable suffering, and then they died. And the rest of us didn't; all we could do was witness, from further and further away.

I thought about that quite a bit, through the rest of September 2001, and on and off through the months after that. It wasn't even the feeling that I had dodged a bullet, because there was no bullet to dodge, and nobody can dodge what's coming for us, anyway. We're all going to die. I could die, right now, for whatever reason, that I can't foresee. If I die, right now, this is what I'll be doing, we're all in the middle of our own lives, like those people in the towers. Do I want to die, right now, doing this? Precisely this? (Which was, let's be clear again, getting passing-out drunk nearly every night. It was a full-time non-occupation.) I thought something like that, or more accurately, felt it, in a very cloudy, incomplete, almost wordless way (because I was still drinking, because I'd been drinking since I was seventeen). It seemed flat wrong, unethical almost, to keep wasting my life, when all those people had lost theirs, and they hadn't known that it was their last day; the last time they'd see their families, the last time they'd draw breath without pain, not knowing, unable to know, how wonderful it actually is, to just breathe.

Nobody can live with the knowledge of their certain death in full view, all the time, accepting. ("Saints and poets maybe....they do some.") But every 9/11, that's something else I remember. This could be my last moment. It is my last moment. 

What will we be doing, if it is? Will we be present? Will we be here?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Here’s what stops more people from writing than anything else: shame. That creeping, nagging sense of ‘should be,’ ‘should have been,’ and ‘if only I had…’ Shame lives in the body, it clenches our muscles when we sit at the keyboard, takes up valuable mental space with useless, repetitive conversations. Shame, and the resulting paralysis, are what happen when the whole world drills into you that you should be writing every day and you’re not.

....Tied up in this mandate to write every day is the question of who is and isn’t a writer. The same institutions and writing gurus that demand you adhere to a schedule that isn’t yours will insist on delineating what makes a real writer. At my MFA graduation, the speaker informed us that we were all writers now and I just shook my head. We’d been writers, all of us, long before we set foot in those hallowed halls. We’re writers because we write. No MFA, no book contract, no blurb or byline changes that.
So if writing every day is how you keep your rhythm tight, by all means, rock on. If it’s not, then please don’t fall prey to the chorus of “should bes” and “If onlys.” Particularly for writers who aren’t straight, cis, able-bodied, white men, shame and the sense that we don’t belong, don’t deserve to sit at this table, have our voices heard, can permeate the process. Nothing will hinder a writer more than this. Anaïs Nin called shame the lie someone told you about yourself. Don’t let a lie jack up your flow.
Winehouse got shunted into one of two boxes: Whore or infant, filthy degenerate or misbehaving little girl, sometimes both in the same article. She was sick, yes. But her greater crime was to be unladylike—blunt, risk-taking, rule-breaking, openly and unapologetically sexual. When a man sneers in the face of convention, he’s a rock star. When a woman does it, she’s a dirty joke. The feeding frenzy around Winehouse was a way to shove her back into a more stereotypical femininity: To make her a Slut, or a Crazy Bitch, something we already knew how to talk about. It was a way to avoid dealing with her on her own terms, and to demonstrate that girls who colored outside the lines got punished.
Now, she’s a Dead Girl—the most helpless, passive feminine stereotype of all. She's been punished for her sins with death, and can sin no more. And now, we love her. Or we love the tragedy of her. Or we love being right about her. It’s hard to say. It’s not just NME that did an about-face; the Daily Mail, the same outlet that told us to deplore Amy Winehouse without pity, ran the headline after her death, “Don’t judge Amy Winehouse by her demons.” That dichotomy—the awful, stupid, ugly woman, and the beloved, brilliant, beautiful corpse—defines how we talk about Winehouse to this day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

'My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood.'

People heard it loud and clear when the baby boomers crossed over to midlife – you couldn’t avoid it. Radio talk show hosts probed into the transition, newspapers described boomer women coping with crow’s feet and men reclaiming their vitality in tribal drum circles. For the generation born after – in the ‘60s and ‘70s, raised by television like no previous generation and with the divorce rate skyrocketing during their childhood years — there is no media watch broadcasting their new trajectory. Few have even noticed that this small, notoriously rebellious clan – those born roughly between 1965 and 1980, which means about 46 million Xers versus 80 million boomers — has entered middle age. It’s a transition that, until now, has been captured, mulled over and ridiculed for each generation for more than a half-century. But not this time.
The problem is, with adulthoods repeatedly shipwrecked by economic disasters, Xers might have neglected to track the crossing over. Susan Gregory Thomas, author of the resonant memoir “In Spite of Everything,” says that many Xers “are always living in a state of triage, always in a survivalist mode. We’re not thinking long-term.”
....According to this year’s Pew study, Xers lost 45 percent of their wealth during the Great Recession. More than a few experts suggest that Xers – finally buying their starter homes in their 30s — unwittingly helped inflate the real estate bubble. They certainly bore the brunt of the collapse.
So just around the time that we were on schedule to settle down, our midlife economic peak became the worst market failure since 1929. “Our entire life has been punctuated by economic disasters from the time we were born,” says Gregory Thomas. “At every major milestone there’s been an economic collapse. There is no rest for Generation X. There’s no time to sit back and think ‘Am I happy or not?’”
David Byrne’s suburban lament “How did I get here?” has become the more practical “How can I pay my rent?”
“If anything,” says Wendy Fonarow, a social anthropologist and the author of the indie-rock chronicle “Empire of Dirt,” “our generation is characterized by not hitting a wall of midlife crisis but having crises throughout.”
“Money is the one thing that keeps me up at night,” Neal Pollack says. “Downward mobility is a hallmark of this generation. I just feel like we’re not going to pull ourselves out of the hole. But what can you do? You have to be grown up about it. You can’t be dissatisfied and unhappy about it all the time. We don’t have that security – the illusion of knowing that everything was going to be all right. But Gen X always had that feeling that everything wasn’t going to be all right.”
There is a chance that being repeatedly burned by the marketplace may actually help us; our natural skepticism may be something American society needs to hear. Most of our trouble – from the Bush 1 recession to the dot-com bust and the more recent economic pit of despair – has stemmed from unchecked optimism. The Xers have paid for that trickle-down optimism repeatedly.
....the thing I've been thinking about the most since my time with Colbert is loss. The losses he's experienced in his life, yes, but really the meaning we all make of our losses. Deaths of loved ones, the phases of our children's lives hurtling by, jobs and relationships we never imagined would end. All of it. Among other things, our lives are compendiums of loss and change and what we make of it. I've never met anyone who's faced that reality more meaningfully than Stephen Colbert. I suppose, more than anything, that's what this story is about.

....“Our first night professionally onstage,” he said, the longtime Second City director Jeff Michalski told them that the most important lesson he could pass on to them was this: “You have to learn to love the bomb.”

“It took me a long time to really understand what that meant,” Colbert said. “It wasn't ‘Don't worry, you'll get it next time.’ It wasn't ‘Laugh it off.’ No, it means what it says. You gotta learn to love when you're failing.… The embracing of that, the discomfort of failing in front of an audience, leads you to penetrate through the fear that blinds you. Fear is the mind killer.”“It was a very healthy reciprocal acceptance of suffering,” he said. “Which does not mean being defeated by suffering. Acceptance is not defeat. Acceptance is just awareness.” He smiled in anticipation of the callback: “ ‘You gotta learn to love the bomb,’ ” he said. “Boy, did I have a bomb when I was 10. That was quite an explosion. And I learned to love it. So that's why. Maybe, I don't know. That might be why you don't see me as someone angry and working out my demons onstage. It's that I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”
I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.
I asked him if he could help me understand that better, and he described a letter from Tolkien in response to a priest who had questioned whether Tolkien's mythos was sufficiently doctrinaire, since it treated death not as a punishment for the sin of the fall but as a gift. “Tolkien says, in a letter back: ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” Colbert knocked his knuckles on the table. “ ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” he said again. His eyes were filled with tears. “So it would be ungrateful not to take everything with gratitude. It doesn't mean you want it. I can hold both of those ideas in my head.”
He was 35, he said, before he could really feel the truth of that. He was walking down the street, and it “stopped me dead. I went, ‘Oh, I'm grateful. Oh, I feel terrible.’ I felt so guilty to be grateful. But I knew it was true.
“It's not the same thing as wanting it to have happened,” he said. “But you can't change everything about the world. You certainly can't change things that have already happened.”

from a commencement address by Utah Phillips

You are about to be told one more time that you are America's most valuable natural resource. Have you seen what they do to valuable natural resources? Have you seen a strip mine? Have you seen a clear cut in the forest? Have you seen a polluted river? Don't ever let them call you a valuable natural resource! They're going to strip mine your soul. They're going to clear cut your best thoughts for the sake of profit unless you learn to resist, because the profit system follows the path of least resistance and following the path of least resistance is what makes the river crooked.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

I have a thought about 'kill your darlings.' There seems to be a general notion out there in the ether that the phrase means, 'Hunt down every sentence or image you really love and cut it down like a pernicious weed.' That, my dears, is bullshit. In my opinion, what it really means is, 'If you're rewriting a whole scene just so that a paragraph or conversation you're in love with will work, and it still kind of doesn't, maybe it doesn't really belong in this story and you should print it out and put it in a lovely, decorative folder labelled DARLINGS to read on those days when you hate every sentence you’re writing.'

 - Delia Sherman

file under 'everything that is wrong in the world today'

Alphabet takes our most elementally wonderful general-use word—the name of the components of language itself—and reassigns it, like the words tweet, twitter, vine, facebook, friend, and so on, into a branded realm. In Larry Page’s letter explaining it to us, Alphabet is illustrated with a bunch of kids’ building blocks. Operation Childlike Innocence, Phase One.

- Sarah Larson

Friday, September 4, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

books read in September 2015

Fiction is in red. Date of first publication in (parentheses).

87. Vintage Didion, Joan Didion (2004) (think I got this for the 9/11 essay)
88. X (A Kinsey Millhone Novel), Sue Grafton (2015)
89. Thief of Time, Terry Pratchett (2002) (reread)
90. Soul Music, Terry Pratchett (1994) (reread)
91. The Girl in the Spider's Web, David Lagercrantz (2015)
92. Jessica Jones: Alias Vol. 1 (AKA Jessica Jones), Brian Michael Bendis (2002)
93. Seven American Deaths and Disasters, Kenneth Goldsmith (2013)

all 2015 booklist posts