Ed Champion Has Left the Building
Reading this, I suddenly recalled the old TV show Taxi, which boasted a rather remarkable cast - Judd Hirsch, Danny Devito, Andy Kaufman, Christopher Lloyd, Marilu Henner, etc. Other than Hirsch's character, all of the cabbies of the Sunshine Cab Company were only driving a cab to pay the bills as they worked toward their dream career - professional boxer, actress, writer, etc. The cabbies were always sitting around dreaming of the day when they'd make it big in their dream career and finally be able to quit the drudgery of driving a cab. One day, Devito's curmudgeonly character Louie finally gets fed up with such idle pondering, and makes the following pronouncement (I'm paraphrasing here):
"Of all the years I've worked here, there's only one cabbie who ever made it 'out' of this place - James Caan."
After the cabbies smile and look at each other in wonderment, as if thinking that if Caan did it then so could they, Louie bursts their speculative bubble by adding:
"But don't worry. He'll be back."
Enjoy your time away from the blogosphere, Mr. Champion, but don't worry - you'll be back.
I'm very fond of the Bibliodyssey blog, which reproduces wonderful old graphic art. (Their tagline is "Books ~ Illustrations ~ Science ~ History ~ Visual Materia Obscura ~ Eclectic Bookart" which pretty much covers everything.) I encourage you to check out the entire site, of course, but take particular note of the following gems:
The Podcast is Coming!
Since all the cool kids are podcasting these days and I've never been above blaming something on peer pressure when it's particularly convenient for me, I'll be launching my own literary podcast soon. The machinery is almost completely in place; now all I have to is get the product up to my exacting standards. Stay tuned!
The Esteemed Professor Trout
Thought I'd direct your attention to the thoroughly entertaining The Brown Trout's Next Book, which eloquently details the life, loves and career of a pompous, dissolute and lusty creative writing professor. Fictional, I'm assuming.
After the briefest of flings, Shirleen Tomasetti has left me. "God, Prof. Trout," she said as she pecked my cheek on the front stoop, "You've opened my eyes." She's not coming back to finish her MFA writing degree. Ordinarily I'd say "good for her" if I wasn't so fond of sleeping with her.
All of this is simply too delicious to be true. I've never emailed the good professor, and probably never will--I don't think I even want to know the reality of the writer behind this. The mystery is rather pleasant.
Fun at the Funhouse
"Yeah, Bob, I'm sure I saw a twenty dollar bill, way down in the bottom of this six-foot deep hole. You can see it if you lean way over...a little more...a little more...you DID name me beneficiary on that life insurance policy of yours, right? Good...a little more..."
Schaub Gone Wild
I'm passing along this Bookslut post because a) I'm mostly Swedish with a dash of Norwegian; b) as an unpublished writer, I have a vested interest in the financial health of literary journals; and c) I just can't say enough wonderful things about Michael Schaub.
Swedish-born philanthropist Sigrid Rausing has bought Granta, the century old literary journal renowned for discovering new writers like poet Sylvia Plath and A.A. Milne, the creator of Winnie the Pooh.
So basically this means that if you're an aspiring writer, you might want to start kissing some Swedish ass now. Practice phrases like "These small cocktail meatballs are actually not unpalatable!" And "Although this furniture is of poor quality, it is surprisingly inexpensive!" And "Norwegians? F***ing peninsula hogs." Also, learn to say these things in Swedish.
You might say this shout-out of mine is just another case of incestous "blog love." I say guilty as charged.
My Daily Smile
Okay, enough of all this political outrage. I direct your attention to Ron Slattery's treasure trove of found photographs at bighappyfunhouse.com. Warning: highly addictive.
Choosy Writers Choose Pete Lit
This humble blog is increasingly attracting the attention of actual, living, breathing writers--a group I greatly admire and hope to join one of these years. Below is a list of writers who have been kind enough to leave comments on Pete Lit or email me.
Caveat: This is by no means a comprehensive list. There may be many more that I'm not yet aware of (dammit, McEwan, drop a dime!) or have inexcusably slipped my mind...so if you're a writer who reads my blog and don't see your name, my deepest apologies.
Kevin Guilfoile (Cast of Shadows)
Paul Anderson (Hunger's Brides)
Patricia Storms (illustator, Fifty Little Penguins)
Adam Schuitema ("New Era, Michigan")
Peter Selgin (Life Goes to the Movies)
Mike Newirth (Bridge Magazine)
Erin Keane ("Science Fiction")
Richard Grayson (The Silicon Valley Diet and Other Stories)
Andrew Ervin ("Diz Lives", Chicago Noir)
Ibrahim Abusharif ("Tribute to the Last Aisle")
Jonathan Messinger (writer, raconteur & literary entrepreneur)
Dana Kaye ("Red Line Reeducation")
Chris Akeley ("Victory")
John McNally (The Book of Ralph)
Richard Lindberg (Return Again to the Scene of the Crime)
Tony Fitzpatrick (The Wonder, Bum Town)
Christine Sneed ("Optimism")
George Murray (The Hunter)
Kirby Gann (Our Napoleon in Rags)
Ron Hogan (The Stewardess is Flying the Plane)
Steve Kistulentz ("Home From the War: An Appreciation of Magnum P.I.")
Public Service Announcement
(Link via TomPaine.com.)
Smoky Links! Get Yer Smoky Links!
I have finally updated my sidebar links, deleting the political site where I contributed editorial comment but which ran out of gas months ago, and adding the following:
My favorite lit blog. (Sorry, GRJ. You really should post more regularly if you want to regain the top ranking.) Jessa Crispin and Michael Schaub prove indefatigable in passing along lit news and their trenchant commentary. Their monthly magazine is a must-read as well--besides all the usual interviews and reviews, I'm smitten by the regular feature Judging A Book By Its Cover, which thoughtfully analyzes book cover design.
Return of the Reluctant
The URL, edrants.com, says it all. Reporting live from San Francisco, Ed Champion provides his willfully undiluted opinions on literature and other life essentials.
The funniest thing to come out of Canada in the past twenty years. (I might have said "to ever come out of Canada", but I also have SCTV and Neil Young's singing voice to consider.)
Not a blog--though I'd love to read his insights on a daily basis--but an author website from a genuinely fine human being and rising literary talent. (I'll be posting my impressions of his fine novel, Our Napoleon In Rags, within the next few days.)
Let's face it--the words "blog" and "blogging" are ugly, uncleverly derived and, well, ugly. (And "weblog" isn't much better.) I personally have tried to fit in to the whole weblog civilzation and just use the terms like everybody else. But my good friend Fred, who has been prowling the Internet for longer than almost anybody I know but has yet to get involved in the weblog scene, truly dislikes the two terms.
So, today, I asked him for suggestions for alternative terminology. His suggestion for replacing "blog" is "omphalos", which I really like for three reasons. First, it sounds very elegant, unlike the clunky and guttural "blog." Second, it is the Greek word for "navel" (which is appropriate, given the enormous amount of navel-gazing that bloggers engage in). Third, he points out that the letters form an acronym for "Often Mundane Prose Heavily Aired, Lacking Obligatory Substance."
All around, I think his suggestion is excellent. Any thoughts?
Who Says I'm Not Readable?
Apparently, my blog comes in on the low end of the readability scale, per this post at Golden Rule Jones. (Thanks, Sam.) But looking at the others on the list, I'm in pretty good company. Perhaps the model doesn't recognize my offbeat creative brilliance.
Incidentally, Julie's blog rates much better, at 7.7. I guess this tells you who's the English major in the family, and who frittered away countless hours studying finance.
My archives are now fully updated, and include everything I've written in this blog and my previous blog, dating back to May 2003. So peruse at your leisure, and feel free to leave scurrilous comments wherever appropriate. NaNoWriMo is finally winding down, and I hope to start generating more creative fiction and fewer snarky observations next week. Stay tuned.
Essential Links to Pass the Time
No writings for now. Here's a few essential links to pass the time.
LAST PLANE TO JAKARTA