“A Man Who Looks in the Mirror and Smiles”

I don’t have much of an opinion on Michiko Kakutani, but i loathe Jonathan Franzen. Her review of The Discomfort Zone had me grinning maniacally. Franzen’s a nastier piece of work that i realized, and i already had a pretty low opinion of him.

It’s now my obligation to read the passages out of that damned book to see what else he wrote about Katrina. “Why should I pony up for this particular disaster?” Did Franzen ever find an answer for this question?

found my missing hard drive!

Back when this blog was a mp3 blog (as well as its elder, dead sibling Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher,) most of the music was from a certain harddrive from years past. During the move from Baton Rouge to Husser, this harddrive was lost, and i mourned it. I owned a lot of it on legitimate CDs anyway, and had duplicates of quite lot more, but with 80 GBs, i was missing some stuff.

Cannot tell how giddy i was when my mother brought in a box from the corncrib, mauled by raccoons and chewed by rats, to find that blessed device in there. Simply Saucer, Bruce Haack, Chrome, solo Mick Ronson, Television Personalities rarities, Mexican psychedelia and garage, Lemmon Kittens, all of that Sarah Records junk, forgotten mash-ups and futurist pop from long dead blogs, flash in the pan NME dross, and a lot of ’90s indie rock that i already own vinyl of and refuse to buy twice…. it’s all on here.

I wanna skip work just to listen to it all…


For those with an interest in architecture, photography, art, and mad geniuses, NOT visiting this site should be a crime.  Stop sinning!

Obligatory wikipedia link: Antoni Gaudí.

Non-obligatory (and somewhat odd) push for Gaudi’s beautification: Faith and Culture…


more misleading headlines about Homo floresiensis

Yeah, yeah… i’ve been reading the wire news trumpeting that Homo floresiensis is a species no more…

John Hawks weighs in on the new paper on Homo floresiensis. He points out that the paper is really about the LB1 specimen, and not the other bones from other individuals. This paper does not have all of the answers and more work needs to be done.

Teuku Jacobs does not mention in the press release that he stole the bones and treated them so poorly that they were damaged.

Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road”

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m one of those arrogant s.o.b.s who’ll say that all of McCarthy’s best work was done prior to 1985. Suttree, McCarthy’s last “southern novel”, is probably the best work of American fiction written in the past 30-35 years, and Blood Meridian is in the top 10. I’ve posted on McCarthy’s work before, and my opinion hasn’t changed.

I thought No Country For Old Men was a huge disappointment. It felt like Ol’ Cormac had phoned it in.

The Road seems much more promising. It’s a departure, at least setting-wise, from his other works. From Amazon:

A searing, postapocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. They sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearting, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

See also Esquire’s review here (via Powell’s).

Antigravity’s Alternative Media Expo on Saturday

It’s on this Saturday 19th from 4 pm to 10 pm at the Howlin’ Wolf. There’s a $5 cover.

Bil and i have been planning to go to the New Orleans Book Fair in October, but this event seems to have some of the same people.

To hell with it… i might as well paste what i have from the Antigravity site:

ANTIGRAVITY: Your New Orleans Music & Culture Alternative is proud to announce its ALTERNATIVE MEDIA EXPO is set for Saturday, August 19th at the Howlin’ Wolf!

The AME is in its fifth edition (four twice-a-year events from 6/03-4/05 make up its previous rounds) and features over 50 exhibitors with ‘zines, comics, films, handmade and original clothing, independent CDs and records, indie and grassroots organizations and much more!

The AME is sponsored by the Charitable Film Network, Dirty Coast, The New Orleans Craft Mafia and NOLAFugees.com. The first 250 attendees will receive a swag bag created by the Craft Mafia.

The special guest of the Expo is Treme-based writer Mat Schwarzman, author of The Beginner’s Guide To Community-Based Arts.

The AME is modeled after national comic conventions, like San Diego’s Comic-Con but more like San Francisco’s Alternative Press Expo, but with other types of media included. The point of the Expo is to provide media makers an opportunity to network while exposing attendees to product and another things that mainstream media either ignores or doesn’t properly cover.

When: Saturday, August 19th, 4pm-10pm
Where: The Howlin’ Wolf (907 South Peters)
Cover: $5

Contact: Leo McGovern
E-Mail: leo@antigravitymagazine.com
Phone: 504.881.7508

All our exhibitors:

504 Whatstyle, Adornments by Draillia, ANTIGRAVITY, Ashe’ Cultural Arts Center, Backporch Revolution, Blank The Plague, Bluecamp Arts, Caesar Meadows, Calamity’s Ball, Cecelia Hopes, Chris Nicholas, Clothes Rock, Constance, Corey Sanders, Crossroads Project, daFa Fungus, Defend New Orleans, Dismantled Designs, Dirty Coast, Goldfish Jewelry Designs, Humid Beings, Impulss, Iron Rail Bookstore/Library, Itchy Stitches, Jazzy Knits, KK-NOLA, Kelly Baugh, Kick It Fashions, Kill Time Productions, Kina’s Kreations, Kody Chamberlain, Live New Orleans, Les Moutons Roses, Mana Media, Media Underground Comics, Midnight Girl, Ms. Placed, New Orleans Filmmakers, New Orleans Network, New Orleans Voices For Peace, NOLA Fugees, NOLA Tonight, Penguin Productions, Reel Fellas, Rising Tide Blogger Conference, Rox, Shutter Magazine, Sigh Co., Spirit Of Humanity Festival, Tedd Walley, Thaddeus Conti, Timecode: NOLA, Toby Craig, Unique Products, Watermark

I have sincere doubts whether i’m going, as i’m quite excited about canoeing on the Bogue Chitto this Saturday, but maybe i can fit both in. I’d rather canoe though, as i’m an antisocial bastard that will likely walk into the joint, look around 10 minutes, then drive that hour and a half back home. We shall see…

indifference to Man Booker longlist

The Man Booker longlist is not doing much for me this year. The only book that i’ve picked up from is Black Swan Green, and i have yet to hit the halfway point. I burned out on Carey a few years back, so Theft is not not even an option. After checking the reviews and plot synopses, there does not seem to be many quirky oddballs like those of recent years. Most even seem to be dour, photorealism. I counted three devoted to post-colonialism, one post-Holocaust, one Iron Curtain, and one that dares center on “September 11 city with disconcerting entitlement.” Oh, for fuck’s sake… just don’t.

For some reason i do feel a little drawn to Edric’s Gathering the Water, as i liked this review. Although it’s probably not what i need to read right now, “creeping alienation” sometimes suits me. I’m also sympathetic to The Testament of Gideon Mack. Irvine Welsh may be a knob, and his review of it has to much of the plot, but i’m damned curious. I found an interview with its author James Robertson. It’s too bad that it won’t be out in the U.S. until next spring.

Perhaps i’d feel differently if the bookstore in which i now work actually stocked a few of these titles. I thought that the one that i was in before was sparse in contemporary literature. This bookstore in Hammond does little more than push mountains of mass market genre fiction, no crime, but it’s lousy for my browsing on my breaks.

Also used the UK Amazon list to find some descriptions. Admittedly, i’m not keen on British literature or British post-colonial lately, although i’m sure that will pass.

RIP Jerzy Ficowski

One of the many important things that happened in the world of literature while I was MIA was the passing on May 9th of this year of Jerzy Ficowski, Bruno Schulz’s Max Brod.

I ordered a new translation of his collected prose, Waiting for the Dog to Sleep, and am well pleased.

RIP Jerzy, and thank you.

I didn’t see a notice of this on any of the lit blogs (please correct me if I’m wrong). Even the literary saloon, the go-to site for international letters (read them daily, btw), had nothing.

It is somewhat fashionable now to bemoan the dearth of translated literature published in the US these days. All well and good. We need foreign fiction like the sick need medicine. There is mindblowing, innovative, excellent work being done all over the world and we see so little of it that it is sickening.

Why is it that we can’t seem to get past pretty faces and sub par flash-pulp and hype and “the next genius”?

Jerzy’s passing, while not earth-shattering, is certainly a true loss. Do yourself a favor and look into him.