March 31, 2005

King Dork Update

So I finished the fourth draft of King Dork earlier this week. It appears that it's going to be the final one, more or less - though I guess you never know. There's a whole other phase of copy editing and other correction mechanisms in store, though I admit I don't know too much about that yet. This whole process is new to me. Now we're discussing stuff like the cover art and "flap copy" and "blurbs" and so forth.

I've got this weird summer vacation feeling now. I mean, for the last nine months or so I had this kind of homework assignment/term project always in the background, when it wasn't in the foreground. Now, suddenly, I turned it in and it's out of my hands, and I don't totally know what to do with myself. What did I used to do when I didn't have King Dork to work on? I forget.

The book has songs in it, and I'm planning to work on some demos of them. That'll keep me busy. I should really start writing another novel, actually, because it takes so long, but right now it's kind of hard to imagine.

It's supposed to come out in Spring 2006 on Delacorte, so there's still a lot of time to fret about it and try figure out what to do till then. I'll let you know if I do.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:29 PM | Comments (23) | TrackBack

March 25, 2005

Viva Foghat

This story has been making the rounds: a high school student in Chula Vista mounts a successful campaign to replace one the school's passing bells with "Slow Ride" by Foghat.

"Every story sounds better with the name 'Foghat' in it," says the student activist, who goes by the name of "Sir Diamond" Daniel Christopher Dorman.

And, boy, is that ever true. (And to slip briefly into self-promotion mode - a mode that is, let's face it, never that far off - the book I'm trying to finish has a tolerable amount of Foghat in it. So I see this story as a good omen. Or something.)

Anyway, if you think this post is great now, wait till you realize (and it's just going to be in a second here) that it (the post) not only includes several mentions of the word 'Foghat,' but also a link to the Foghat BBS, which they call "the new Foghat SPEAKEASY." You can read excerpts from Sir Diamond's letter, as well as a response from the principal and general discussion here.

Finally, here's a picture Sir Diamond Dorman and his minions:


He's the guy in the hat. I'd guess there are really two kinds of people in this world: those who will look at these guys and be reminded, at least in some small way, of their own high school selves, and everybody else. Both groups are kind of sad in their own way.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:48 PM | Comments (44) | TrackBack

March 23, 2005

Quick! Hire this Guy as a Consultant.

Michele recently wrote a thoughtful little essay about her own sense of "buyer's remorse" with regard to her vote for Bush in the election. I imagine there are quite a few people teetering on that particular edge these days, though I doubt there ever were any fiscal conservative voters who were wild about GWB.

At any rate, Gary Farber notes and quotes it, and adds:

what I wish to urge all my fellow Democrats in regard to those who feel like Michele is that they respond like this: castigate them not. Speak not to them with chastisement of any sort. Welcome them as allies on any issue you are of like mind about. And take it from there. Look to the future, and the now.

Because what it's about is doing the right thing and getting the best policies passed. Which means making alliances with like-minded people, rather than indulging your self-righteousness, and putting personal purity, whether yours or theirs, ahead of electing good people and winning the issues.

And, besides, anyone who thinks the Democrats have had their act together on security, overall, since September 11th, 2001, hasn't been following the plot; at best, individual Democrats, and clusters, have had some haphazardly sound stances, on some issues; so without re-opening old arguments, it's not as if you had to be crazy to at least have had some complaints about the Democrats and security issues; Lord knows it's a simple fact that, right or wrong, plenty of people have felt that way, and, y'know, what's important isn't rehashing the past, but making them welcome when they're now ready with an open mind.

Seems perfectly sensible to me. When I checked out the comments to Gary's post, though, I was pretty surprised at the responses, particularly this one:
We need a limited number of votes in a limited number of states, and we should do what we need to do to strike that deal. But, IIRC, Michelle lives in a solidly Blue area; her vote helps us not at all. If people want to rant, and it makes them feel better, they should do so - it costs us nothing.

Moreover, for a large part of the anti-Bush crowd, this was an easy choice because the choices were so stark. That these people couldn't make the appropriate decision given that truth means that they are entirely untrustworthy as decision-makers. Again, we should make the deals we need, but lets not seek any allies we don't need unless they acknowledge the wrongness of their decision-making process. As I read Michelle, she can't or won't do that - she says she won't apologize b/c she did what she felt was right. Who cares? She was wrong, and until she either owns up to it or brings us votes in area we need, what benefit do we get from removing her incentive towards a little self-criticism by accepting her with open arms?

What benefit is to be gained from striving to conduct yourself approximately as though you are a decent human being with regard to those with whom you have disagreements, but with whom you may nevertheless have common ground? Well, it depends on whether they're from blue states or red states. Brilliant strategy, there. Keep this up and you're probably going to lose again.

UPDATE: As for the other comments, I like Angua's advice to bg (comments #7 and #8.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:39 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

The Normal Recreation of Noble Minds

Sorry I couldn't help out, but I hope whoever arrived at this site via this query eventually got what he was looking for.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:39 PM | TrackBack

Sexy outfits, low-cut blouses, and tight pants

Too sexy for Harvard, yet arguably not sexy enough for the TGI Friday's cocktail lounge.

(The title of this post comes from the original article, here.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:07 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

March 21, 2005

About to Rock, Salute You, etc.

So, the MTX is playing on Friday, April 1st in Santa Cruz at the Beach Boardwalk. At 6:30 pm., they say. We'll be playing on the Summer Bandstand: start at the Cocoanut Grove arcade, go past the Pirate Ship, and when you see the Sky Glider, you're there.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:32 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

March 19, 2005

a recalcitrant pseudo-intellectual who despises recalcitrant pseudo-intellectualism

This guy has me all figured out.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 09:29 PM | Comments (102) | TrackBack

March 18, 2005


The tragic history of the Ice Capades, via Sheila O'Malley. I never saw the Ice Capades in person, but I still feel I lived the experience through the numerous television commercials. Same goes for the Lippizzaner Stallions (which is still a going concern, as far as I know.)

At any rate, the Ice Capades clearly had a powerful effect on me, because to this day, even though I know it's wrong, I still almost think "capade" is an actual word. I'll even slip up and use it sometimes when I'm not thinking. As in: "hey, when are the capades supposed to start?" or "Honey, I'm not really in the mood for a capade right now."

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:47 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

March 16, 2005

No comment is a comment

I may be wrong, but as far as I can tell, the comments on this blog are now working, more or less.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:52 PM | Comments (38) | TrackBack

March 15, 2005

a true story about my love affair with a professional con-man and how he tricked me into stealing my life savings and also simultaneous invasion of my wedding planning company and theft, blackmail and eventual real life miracles

From Craig's list NY (via Gawker):

800 pages needs to turn into 350-400 pages. HELP! Writer seeks editor with book editing experience and loads of reading knowlege and familiarity of topics pertaining to spirituality, NLP, meditation, hypnosis, and the spiritual principles of gratitude, forgiveness, miracles, faith and more. I prefer, actually to find one editor that is like minded and very much in alignment with my “new-age” belief systems and a second editor that is totally opposed to my mystical ways and very much a “realist” and practical right now kind of person to challenge me and keep me on my toes and help me to hear and experience the WORST before I publish.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:23 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack



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March 13, 2005

The Unpredictable Mr. Drudge

Here's a summary of the embarrassing/amusing public snark-a-thon between Susan Estrich and Michael Kinsley over the ratio of female to male writers on the LA Times opinion pages. There's nothing new for those who have followed it all, except, perhaps, for this bit:

[Estrich] contended she didn't think e-mails to Drudge and others in the media would get into the public domain.


(via Virginia Postrel.)

March 11, 2005

"I myself have great problems with screwing together such furniture."

The title of this post is a quote from Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik.

The issues are, however, quite serious: why are women under-represented in the little drawings featured in IKEA assembly instructions? And are the clothes drawn on these cartoon women modest enough to avoid offending Muslim customers?

Deep waters.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 10, 2005

Total Quality Tedium

Sheila O'Malley turned up this quote from Darin Strauss (author of Chang and Eng):

Here's the problem with Write what you know: What too many aspiring writers know, it turns out, is that a suburban American adolescence causes vague feelings of sadness -- especially when one's formative years include a dying grandparent or housepet. A way to avoid such tedium is to write what you don't know, to labor toward peculiarity. The risk there is that your well-researched make-believe might come off as exactly that: a fake. It's the lucky writer whose story is familiar to himself and exotic to his readers.

He's got a point.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 09:40 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


A shopping list found in a Biblical concordance at the Berkeley Public Library:



Shaving Cream



P-Nut Butter

Shoe Inserts

Posted by Dr. Frank at 08:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Usual Suspects

If you're not familiar with the recent Ken Livingstone antisemitism controversy, Harry's Place has been all over it.

Anyway, it looks like Red Ken has a new defender.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 08:50 PM | TrackBack

the fate of the group was the same as that of the people about which they had composed their music, finally falling into forgottenness.

Meet Dschinghis Khan:

a natural offspring of those days a long time ago when all signs were mercilessly pointing toward disco... With its unconventional use of complex historical problems and extravagant costumes, the young artists had obviously hit the nerve of the music consumer industry...

Thanks, Kendra!

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:35 AM | TrackBack

Call Stanley Fish - He Can Deconstruct this Poem

From craig's list:

over 40 burly guy... looks 30,
seek to join form or jam with
drummer, possible singer, and either guitar(s) or bass etc...

not looking to do sell-out crap...
looking for short to mid-length project,
or weekend house jams/reh rooms...
keeping my dayjob etc...
Local and short jaunts only...
jam/rehearse 3 times a month, gig 3 times a year... or more (not less)
originals or great songs from the last 3 or 4 decades, no cliches...

i play bass or guitar, wild loose heavy hard jangly retro
blues-rock-based with post-hcpunk bent
with some swing feel and preferably some triplet fills...
its simple chromatically, but it bounces
around the neck a fair bit...
i milk a lot of juice out of the amps and guitars...
I also am learning drums, and am almost good enough to jam...
I have excellent e-drums in my home, guitar and bass too etc...

friday saturday and sunday availability please

(via my friend Tristin - the title of this post is the title of her email containing the link.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:26 AM | TrackBack

Some prats are south

Found on the street. This is a school assignment from a kid named Robert, perhaps for a speech or presentation? It is computer-printed in large type on a half-sheet of paper.

This is an ornamental gourd. It is moldy, lumpy, and hard. It looks like a snake that ate an egg. It is yellow with lumpy yellow lines and a thing at the bottom. It has dirt all over it. Black stuff is on the top and it has some prats are south. It has lines that stick out. It is moldy and ugly. You can't eat it. It is turning green, yellow, and black with a little gray.

"some prats are south" is underlined in red; "parts" is written above "prats," and "softh" is written above "south;" a note in the margin reads: "parts that are soft?"

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:19 AM | TrackBack

March 09, 2005

When a Man (or Woman) Loves a Woman (or Man) or Whatever

I missed this last week on kausfiles. (Scroll down to "Open book/PC Hell"-- hey what's with the godfather of blogging not having permalinks to individual posts? I guess it's kind of charming, in a quaint old world way):

Jada Pinkett Smith, honored as the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations' "Artist of the Year," gives an inspiring "ladies! you can have it all!" speech.

The following week, the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations joins forces with the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance to denounce their own Artist of the Year for being offensively "heteronormative." The Foundation is in effect joining the BGLTSA in demanding an apology from itself, if I'm reading this article right. I love it when that happens.

I'm getting a topsy-turvy Dan Quayle/Murphy Brown vibe here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:47 PM | TrackBack

March 08, 2005

Sufficient perhaps, but most likely not necessarily necessary

Lots of folks have linked to that Independent article with the surprising headline: Was Bush Right After All?

Clive Davis notes and quotes a classic bit of rhetoric in the main editorial, which is behind subscription:

Yes, it was heartwarming to see Iraqis voting in free elections and, yes, these elections could probably not have happened without the removal of Saddam.

Probably not, indeed.

UPDATE: Scott Burgess has more.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

A fate worse than death...

Williamsburg "hipsters" rage against the machine. I like this bit:

"All our favorite coffee shops will become Starbucks, and our cute little North Seventh pharmacy will become Duane Reade."

For anyone needing more convincing, the women pull up illustrated renderings of the waterfront proposal on the city's Web site. "Look," Ms. Wilson said, pointing aghast at one computer animated figure. "Dockers!"

Posted by Dr. Frank at 01:32 AM | TrackBack

March 07, 2005

At a Berkeley Bookstore

An overheard conversation:

Man: ...and at some point you've got to wonder why all of these so-called accidents are happening to Democrats, and never to Republicans. But if you ask the question publicly, they marginalize you. They say you're crazy. Or you're, um, foolish. Or paranoid. Or over-zealous. That's how they silence debate in this country.

Woman: (nodding) it's just like what happened in Nazi Germany. Do you want a photocopy of that Bill Moyers?

Man: I already read it on line.

Written in ball-point pen on the inside back cover of a used paperback copy of The Catcher in the Rye:

Holden Caufield is a boy who lived in bordering school. He had a room-mate by the name of Stradler. To Holden, Stradler is one of the most phonniest people in the world.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 09:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 03, 2005

A Day in the Life

I found this "to do" list written on a post-it somewhere in North Oakland:

fix washing mach.
go to church

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:07 PM | TrackBack

Yardbird Suite

The Queen meets Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton, whom she asks: "have you been playing a long time?"

"We're all from Surrey," said Clapton.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:29 PM | TrackBack

The Sleep of the Blessed

Since December, patrons who order Jack Daniel's whiskey at Gino's, the Sellwood restaurant known for its pasta and mammoth Caesars, have been asked to try a brand with no affiliation to President Bush. (Brown-Forman, the company that distills JD, supported W in 2004; earlier, Bush named the company's former CEO ambassador to Austria.) "It wasn't an easy decision, because a lot of our customers drink Jack Daniel's—and my own drink was Jack and Coke," says Gino's owner Mark Accuardi. "But we sleep better at night."
(via the Corner.)
Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:54 PM | TrackBack

March 02, 2005

Calling All Stoppers

Sound advice from Jonathan Freedland in today's Guardian:

the call for freedom throughout the Arab and Muslim world is a sound and just one - even if it is a Bush slogan and arguably code for the installation of malleable regimes. Put starkly, we cannot let ourselves fall into the trap of opposing democracy in the Middle East simply because Bush and Blair are calling for it. Sometimes your enemy's enemy is not your friend.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:18 PM | TrackBack

March 01, 2005

The Best we Can Hope For

I heard this awesome phrase on a commercial for one of those adjustable beds:

for a lifetime of temporary relief

Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:24 AM | TrackBack