Monday July 26, 2004
Dylan continues to amuse me with his “non-exhaustive study of the various schools of sidewalk graffitists that work in and around the Mission at the base of Noe Valley.” Today, I had a hard time deciding which sample to grab. Check it out.
As a big, big fan of micro-controversies, I’m glad the Boston Globe has brought us all up to date on the flap surrounding Foetry.com, a site that exposes the unspeakable corruption behind, well, poetry contests sponsored by academic presses. Slap fights to follow?
Friday July 16, 2004
Chess genius and “pathologically perverted anti-Semite” Bobby Fischer has been detained in Japan, and may be deported to the U.S. to face charges that he violated international sanctions by playing chess in Yugoslavia in 1992. This on the eve of the Democratic Convention and just four months before the election. A coincidence? I don’t think so. The Bushies will stop at nothing when it comes to manipulating the public’s fear of childishly demented board game experts.
(via Yahoo!, where you can read all about Fischer’s crazy-time shenanigans.)
I’ve just been alerted to a July 4 article in the New York Times ‘Sunday Styles’ section about the Maritime Hotel, which reads in part:
With its two rooftop restaurants, a spacious outdoor terrace and a subterranean club, the Maritime is a sort of hot-spot multiplex. Its crowds are so thick, and so famously on the make, that the snarky Web site Gawker.com has made a running item of their awfulness. One early June entry cited ”loud-talking account executives,” ”nasally bobbleheads” on cellphones and ”vomiting schoolchildren, in from Bayside and Bayonne.”
Hey, that bit of Gawker snark is actually a quotation of snark minted right here at Encyclopedia Hanasiana. Thanks to Chris Davis at my former roost, The Memphis Flyer, for spotting this — God knows I never read the Times; what, is that printed on paper? — and setting the record straight, at least down South, where my base remains energized.
Thursday July 15, 2004
John Irving tells the Globe and Mail that he worked on his forthcoming novel for years before deciding it was written in the wrong voice. “I don’t normally like the first-person voice and I can’t even remember what rationale led me to think this had to be a first-person novel, but for the five years I’ve been writing it, it was,” he says. “And just one morning I woke up and thought: ‘Shit. It’s not right.’ ” Now he’s busy rewriting the 345,0000-word tome in the third-person. This … this makes my head hurt.
(via Publishers Marketplace.)
A San Franciscan friend of mine has caught the photoblogging bug and has begun documenting the sidewalk graffiti in his neighborhood. In addition to earnest political statements, this includes the single best example of absurdist street graffiti ever.
Also from the City by the Bay, operatives deep inside the press release distribution industry have begun collecting odd specimens at Forward Looking Statements. A sample:
Tasty Fries has developed a patent-protected vending machine that prepares, cooks and dispenses freshly made fries with superior dietary attributes, flavor, aroma and texture. Total cooking time is approximately 90 seconds for each order. The fries are made from top-quality potatoes and are cooked in cholesterol-free oil using state-of-the-art robotics and technology.
Mmmm. Robotics and technology.
Tuesday July 13, 2004
Richard Ford spits on Colson Whitehead. Poet Franz Wright promises a “crippling beating” to critic William Logan. And now Stanley Crouch slaps Dale Peck? One more literary hothead and it will be time for fight night at the 92nd Street Y.
Monday July 12, 2004
Apparently bored with the city-wide monotony of “Stop Bush” and “Neckface,” someone has defaced the built-in binoculars at Hudson River Park’s Pier 51 — right next to the kiddy pool — with some ghoulish graffiti about the late Spalding Gray, who drowned himself in the vicinity. “Looking for Spalding,” reads one of the Sharpied scrawls, while another asks “Where in the world is Mr. Grey [sic]?”
Thursday July 08, 2004
Seattle photography student Ian Spiers recounts two run-ins he had with Homeland Security while photographing the Ballard Locks for a class assignment. In frustration, Spiers turned to documenting the dozens of other, non-brown tourists who were allowed to photograph the Locks without incident. Photographing tourists taking pictures is, of course, a pastime dear to my heart, but here the effect is powerful, rather than — you know — silly. Spiers will be following his own case and others on his new blog, www.brownequalsterrorist.com.
(via Boing Boing.)
Wednesday July 07, 2004
Let me see if I’m following this. The 9/11 Commission says there was no “collaborative relationship” between Iraq and al-Qaida. Vice President Dick Cheney responds by defending his right to innuendo by saying he “probably” had information that the commission didn’t have. Then, the bipartisan commission comes back and says they saw everything and there is no evidence of an operational relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida. And Cheney’s response is to claim victory because this proves the White House “provided the commission with unprecedented access to sensitive information so they can perform their mission?” Talk about changing the subject. And let’s not forget the waffling. According to this AP story, “Cheney’s main concern was about some media reports suggesting that al-Qaida and Iraq had no ties whatsoever.” Alright Dick, we admit it, “Iraq” and “al-Qaida” are both proper nouns.
Tuesday July 06, 2004
You know we’ve entered desperate times when Hunter S. Thompson starts making sense again. “My final prediction for today is that the U.S. will not send any teams to the Olympic Games this year,” he raves in his latest, pleasingly paranoid ESPN.com column. “And the World Series will also be canceled or at least postponed for a National Security emergency that will never be explained in public until long after George Bush is gone from the White House, which will happen in early November — or at least before Groundhog Day next year. We are all going for a very wild ride for the next few months. So good luck and drink all the cold beer you can get your hands on for as long as necessary to guarantee victory and lasting peace in the nation and the world.”
Friday July 02, 2004
Filmmaker Errol Morris — who just won a long-deserved Oscar for The Fog of War — has agreed to shoot an advocacy commercial for MoveOn.org. As one might expect from a director who invented a dedicated technique for filming interviews, the spot will be made up of conversations with real people.
“This is a very simple idea,” Morris explains. “A different kind of political advertising. Not a prepared speech. Not a voice-over narrative, but rather Americans speaking one on one. Americans speaking to other Americans in their own words, expressing their beliefs and their hopes for the future.”
MoveOn is holding an online casting call to find a dozen people to appear in the commercial. Just fill out this survey to be considered.
I know “Fly Guy” is ancient in web terms — it was just recently named one of Time’s “50 Coolest Websites,” if that gives you any idea — but this interactive Flash daydream is so sublime I couldn’t resist. It’s like a James Thurber drawing come to life.