Tolen sent this email and photo:
Hey I love your book King Dork so much I must have read it at least three times. I even gave Sanjaya your book yesterday at a concert. Thank you so much for writing such an awesome book. Rock on.
Hey, guess what? I'm doing a little acoustic set tomorrow in New York, that's what. Wednesday, 19 September, 8:30 PM. A Rooftop Films event.
It's "on the lawn" at Open Road Park, 11th St. between 1st and Avenue A.
Me at 8:30. Films at 9. Free. Details here. Tell people!
I know it's about as short as notice can possibly get, but what the heck...
UPDATE: it went all right. It was one of those things where they have you up on a miniature drive-in movie type screen:
Thanks to Crystal for the photo.
There are six very friendly people on this web page who want to tell you all about the "washlet," a toilet seat apparatus that incorporates a "bunch of nifty technology," including a "small wand" and a remote control unit with a "rear cleansing" button. Peter Suderman of The American Scene recommends consulting the Asian woman fourth from the left, who discusses the concept of "happiness" and reads some fan mail. I recommend it too. I'm just not totally sure why... Actually, these people are all kind of freaking me out...
Ann Althouse has some fun with the diabolical ingeniusness of the writing in this post by first-tier blogger Josh Marshall. The vaunted perch is something we insist on giving one guy, a insistence involving something paradoxical with regard to the other fellow, his tacit partner, and the flip side of this perch is... well, you can catch flack from it, apparently. I get what he thinks he's saying, I think. Good, vaunted, paradoxical fun.
John Podhoretz remembers Madeleine L'Engle.
(via Ross Douthat.)
"It really all depends on what type of punk you want to write," says the author. Plus:
It helps to show a little anger because that is what it's kinda about. You can mix in the feelings that you have about something currently occurring in your life, then compare and contrast it with what is going on around the world, nation ect.
Using big and intellectual words helps you to prove your point in a way that makes you sound maybe a bit more prudent than in actuality. Rhyming words with the suffix tion in the end seems pretty easy (i.e. emancipation, vindication).
Now is the time to make a difference.
Few T shirts, especially cheaply produced home-made punk rock ones, survive intact for twenty years. For some reason, though, I have this Crimpshrine shirt from back then that has really hung in there. I don't think about it too much, but it is in the regular T shirt rotation, which means it pops up every three to six weeks or so, by my calculations, depending on how often I do laundry.
Anyhow, I went to this Mexican restaurant the other night, and Billie Joe and Mike from Green Day happened to be at the please-wait-to-be-seated spot right ahead of me. I bump into Tre Cool every so often at the grocery store, but I hadn't seen these two in quite some time and we had a brief, pleasant conversation about this and that, as one does. Bill said he liked my book, which was nice of him. Good egg.
It was only afterwards that I realized I was wearing the twenty-year-old Crimpshrine shirt all through the conversation. I mean, of course it was through the whole conversation. I didn't, like, take it off in the middle of it or anything. This isn't that type of anecdote.
The point is I was accidentally wearing the shirt at the time and for some reason that struck me as really hilarious and I started laughing at least loudly and weirdly enough that the Mexican restaurant hostess gave me the look that says "I wonder if this man is an escaped mental patient." Plus ca change, and everything...
Later that evening, halfway through dinner, this guy comes up to me and says, "that's an interesting T shirt." "Oh?" I replied, trying to be at least a bit noncommittal till it became clear what he wanted. Well, he didn't want anything, but he did turn out to be: Jeff Ott's dad!
When I told her about it, Erika said, drily, "you are really living the East Bay dream," meaning that there is probably some kid out in Michigan or somewhere who really does imagine that that's what it's like to live in Berkeley. Every time you go down to the Mexican restaurant, there's two thirds of Green Day and Dr. Frank and Jeff Ott's dad, all hanging around wearing their Gilman era T shirts.
The other thing that occurs to me is that a ways back, there had been some talk of trying to get Bill to blurb King Dork, though it was just one of those things that never ended up happening in the end. It didn't occur to me to ask for one officially at the time and I don't know when I'll bump into him again. Maybe never. And perhaps it's too late now anyway. However, in the spirit of working with what ya got, how about this:
"Hey I liked your book" -- (author's recollection of personal conversation while standing in line wearing Crimpshrine T shirt at Mexican restaurant with) Billie Joe of Green DayEditors? Would that fly?
From Mark Steyn's column on Larry Craig:
My general philosophy on public restrooms was summed up by the late Derek Jackson, the Oxford professor and jockey, in his advice to a Frenchman about to visit Britain. "Never go to a public lavatory in London," warned Professor Jackson. "I always pee in the street. You may be fined a few pounds for committing a nuisance, but in a public lavatory you risk two years in prison because a policeman in plain clothes says you smiled at him."
Personally, I find the idea of undercover cops hanging out in the men's room spying on everybody far, far more disturbing and creepy than anything Larry Craig is alleged to have done.
And if I were a Minneapolis taxpayer, I'd be mightily pissed off that the police have decided to serve and protect by assigning what appears to be at least one full-time cop to a crackdown on gay sex in a single public restroom rather than putting him out on the streets to deal with real crime. I really hope they're not allocating law enforcement resources along those lines in Oakland, but if they are maybe it explains something.
UPDATE: Arianna Huffington asks an interesting question:
how much taxpayer money in total is being allocated across the country by local police to protect us from people whom the Sgt. Karsnias of the world think might, at some point, commit a crime?I'd love to know how much of the Oakland law enforcement budget is being spent on sleazy Prick Up Your Ears operations like this when people are being set on fire in residential streets and shot with shotguns downtown in broad daylight.
(via Matt Welch.)
This morning my editor and I discussed book design ideas via a series of text messages.
I'd say that characterization, from Matt Yglesias over at the Atlantic.com, would be a top contender for my epitaph, if I ever end up needing one. I daresay Matt is right, in the sense that I would not be terribly surprised to learn that the members of Green Day have a far less objectionable view of the peculiarities of the compositional structure of Paul Berman's Power and the Idealists than the one expressed in the post to which he links.
The audio of the video he links to is actually a cover of my song by someone unknown to me. Whoever is singing is a much better singer than me. I like the guitar playing too, though I play different chords than he does in places.
Anyway, Matt-lantic, thanks for remembering!
UPDATE: this post on Superbad and the nerdy-dude-gets-the-girl topos has a pretty good title.
Strange to say, I pop up in this article in this Sunday's New York Times Fashion & Style section. (The article is about using blog tours to promote books; the photo is me in my "writing corner" at Jupiter in Berkeley.)