Last night I read the “front-matter” — probably not the right word for the preface, introduction, chronology, etc — of the recently released Damion Searls-edited NYRB Classics edition of Thoreau’s Journal.

Kind of great: check out the accidental "Adobe Photoshop CS3" text on the cover! How sublime would it be if that made it onto the real cover! Not sublime at all. But still, this is the kinda junk that makes me happy. My daughters are all grown and moved away.

In Searls’s funny and helpful introduction, he calls the volume an “abridgement”–similar, in one respect, maybe, to an abridgment Searls made of another 19th-century American classic, Moby-Dick: called ; or, the Whale, Searls wrote a great essay in the Believer about the project here. I’ve recently been hit with an overwhelming amt of semirequired reading, and Searls’s introduction, which talks about the distinction between abridgement, which seeks to retain the flow and balance of the original, and editing, which simply reduces its length (I am bungling this, hard, and giving up on this sentence).… Of further interest is the fact that it’s basically Thoreau’s life that’s being abridged. I somehow thought it was going to be easy to make a point here about the amount of books one feels one needs to read and the amount of days one has to live and have these things be gloriously connected in a reading of Thoreau’s journal. But it’s not and I’m at work and need to get back to it. These excuses smell like  excrescences on an old cheese.

Late last year I ate a pot cookie and went to the California Academy of Sciences with some loved ones. That evening I accidentally spilled two full beers on a reality TV show demi-celebrity and her date (I have severe night blindness, didn’t see their table). Then I ate more of the pot cookie and went to Rosemarie Waldrop’s George Oppen Memorial Lecture, where she spoke a bit about Oppen’s Daybook. My grasp of the lecture was suitably tenuous but I did love the idea of a daybook, even just as a prettier word than journal. I guess, my dear Wolfman (I write this blog for one person only, and that is the Wolfman, sweet web-surfing Wolfman, I hope you like my blog, I hope your Internet connection is clear and fast and uninterrupted, I hope that no one bridles at my calling you a “person”, for even if you’re sometimes more wolf than man, you, adorable Wolfman of mine, are always a person. Because you can read! What the fuck) this discussion is inevitably leading toward a discussion of blog as daybook. Blog as journal. Something about the fact that the Wolfman has immediate access to it, and that it has hyperlinks, distinguishes it from the intensely private, contemplative analog journals of “yore” (and yore is, of course, still in full contemporary effect, in tens of thousands of active Moleskines and spiral-bounds worldwide). But seriously, I smack your face with my unworn leather gloves: blogs are allowed to be daybooks. Let them be. Why do I feel the need to defend the internet from hypothetical reactionaries? Why do I insist on calling my rambling, soggy rants “discussions” or “arguments” when they’re really just excrescences on my poor old personal cheese, and I should be getting back to work at work?

The self-abusing rhetorical question smells like the privates of an old man. I’ll see you tonight, Wolfman. Hugs.

Paparazzo: Episode Four

Announcing Episode Four of Paparazzo, a radio show about culture broadcasting from Paris, France. Endless, undiminished apologies all around. The “caucasian skin” reference, along with this entire enterprise, is weird and bad and sounds wrong. I continue to be unable and/or refuse to to learn to edit audio, or myself. I also continue to use this blog as a clearinghouse for my psychic daemons, thanks for stopping by, “all rights reserved / all wrongs reversed”!

[Listen to Episodes One, Two, or Three.]

(Photo harvested from the Flickr collection of “chrisainsworth“)

Blogfarm, blogfuture, blogheart, blogtown, blogtrain, blogcap, blogcane, blogclone, blogclown, blogstop, blogpound, blogtrap, blogcork, blogcow, blogcrown

…anyway, this morning as I was walking into the office, I am Jewish, I am “all traveled out,” not going anywhere for the holidays, what about you, skeleton-crew people in the office are doing LOTS of shouting stuff out to each other, feeling their oats, it’s OK, it’s kind of bugging me, I do it as much as anyone, I am a hypocrite, but please stop talking to me, I am trying to write about my life on a free website that I maintain, please do not speak to me (Nota Bene: I am not talking about you, McMüller, everything you have said today and every day is perfect, seriously, please do not stop talking) (everyone else, you must stop talking)

anyway, as I was walking into the office, there was a young woman posed semi-confrontationally on her bike, gazing self-consciously into the closed hipster Design Beyond Reach store next-door, we did not make eye contact, her face was poised in a self-conscious semi-angry mask of seriousness, the one that says “I am feeling confused and I know a total stranger is regarding me  in a public space; I need a shield of total seriousness to protect me from embarrassment as I gaze into this twee, shuttered shop.”

Her expression was overwhelmingly serious, which is why I came close to laughing out loud when, with terrible concentration and gravity, she removed something from her bag, which could only have been a cell phone, but in fact, as I sauntered by with perfect posture and generous love in my heart, I recognized her removing from her bag a pack of———-Dentyne Ice! She was self-consciously producing a stick of gum! This woman was a rookie undercover cop. My heart went out to her. It stays out with her. Except somewhere, by now, I know she’s speaking out loud, and, despite myself, only because I’m trying to concentrate, I want her to stop.


I want to conduct a roundtable discussion that I’ll title “Slapstick on a Pig: New Feminist Humo(u)r(s)” with Lisa Hanawalt and Lauren Bans. I will moderate, but my “moderation” will just be Hanawalt and Bans mocking me. I will “sell” the interview to an online magazine.


I have been meaning to say HEY THANK YOU to everyone who laughed politely and didn’t throw acid/beer/vodka-tonic in my face at the Make-Out Room earlier this month. In particular: I couldn’t have asked for better volunteers from the audience. Total-stranger hilarious woman with empanada, I’m looking at you. KUDOSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

I have a cold, this is a blog,

there’s work I’m supposed to be doing but I’m home sick, I have a cold, I’ve been clicking on lots of things, maybe I will go back to sleep soon, it’s 8 p.m., but rill quick just wanted to say

via @magicmolly I discovered the internet writing of Lauren Bans, who it seems like if I went home sick with my laptop more often I would have been a fan of hers for much much longer, instead of just tonight.

Two encounters with pop culture I’d  had and forgotten about that Bans wrote about and made me happy to have encountered if only to appreciate her take more fully (I have a cold):

  1. I watched three-quarters of 200 Summers I mean 500 Days of Summer (approx. 375 Days of Summer, I guess) on a plane recently. We landed before it finished. Bans’s quick take (“emosogyny“) on the movie is awesome (but I wish she’d mentioned the Garden State/Shins scene, maybe it’s not as relevant as I want it to be)
  2. I was sitting in Atlas cafe the other morning with Gerhard Richter’s Daughters, Atlas has a weird selection of old magazines, and we were idly checking out GQ‘s profile of January Jones and I made a half-coherent unfunny observation  that Bans makes doublecoherently and funnierly here, I am grateful, I have a cold