July 30, 2008

There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis

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July 29, 2008


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July 28, 2008

John Moccasin and Barrack Abeam

The AP wire gives good spell-check:

CHICAGO - Presidential candidate John moccasin on Sunday endorsed a proposal to ban affirmative action programs in his home state, a policy that Democratic rival Barrack Abeam called a disappointing embrace of divisive tactics. In the past, moccasin has criticized such ballot initiatives.
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God Save...

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July 27, 2008

Love is Dead

I don't get around much anymore, but today I had lunch with Chris Appelgren, who kind of still does. Or rather, his iPhone does, and he showed me this on it:


Video here.

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Back Pages

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July 26, 2008

His Nibs

(via Clive Davis.)

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July 25, 2008

Number 16 Bus Shelter

A New Zealand judge has made a 9-year-old girl a ward of the court so that her name can be changed from Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii, the country's national news agency reported Thursday.

That one is pretty bad, as are many of the others mentioned by the judge. But Sex Fruit and Number 16 Bus Shelter are lovely, if underutilized, names, and perfectly acceptable because they're in the Bible.

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July 24, 2008

Sound Deep Lost

Yet more text-cloud narcissism, to augment the t.-c. n. featured in this post.

To wit, here's a wordle-generated graphic made up of a random arrangement of the 150 most commonly occurring words in the lyrics to the songs on Love is Dead:


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I'm in Love with the Girl on the Manchester Virgin Megastore Checkout Desk


The recitation of label names in that Reunion song put me in mind of the label list-patter verse of the Freshies song with this post's title.

It's one of my all-time favorite singles, and one of a handful of songs that still play almost daily as fully-realized recordings in my head despite many years of exposure to other items that really ought to have replaced, or at least dislodged, them.

A legal threat from Virgin required that they re-record the vocals to replace the word "Virgin" with "certain," a seemingly minor change that nevertheless makes the re-done version nearly impossible bear. (They had to switch the words around to make it make sense in the new form, altering the scansion, a big part of the reason my brain refuses to process it without protest, I'd imagine.) A truncated recording of the real, non-grating one is on this myspace Freshies fan page. (I don't know where to direct you for the bowdlerized version, and perhaps that's just as well.)

Googling around, I found this article describing Richard Branson's quest to locate Helen, the girl the song was actually written about, in order to include her as a "guest of honor" as part of a promotion for something or other. Which is a bit rich, don't you think?

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Life is a Rock

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July 23, 2008

Clouds of Unknowing

I've seen quite a few text-cloud applets over the past few years, but Wordle is perhaps the coolest one yet.

Here are the randomly generated Wordle text-clouds of the 150 most common words in the first chapters of each of the parallel narratives in Andromeda Klein, named for their protagonists, Andromeda Klein and Allyston Obeck:


You can click on each "cloud" for a larger image. Pretty neat, huh? And I promise you (whoever you may be, if any) that I wasted practically no time generating them.

Okay, back to work then...

(via Crooked Timber.)

[added]: one thing I learn from this, if the size of the words relative to one another really does accurately reflect their frequency, is that my writing (in both "voices") seems to overuse the word "though." That is, I should maybe try to write fewer equivocal or disclaimer-laden sentences. Come on, Portman, say what you mean! That's what these word clouds are telling me. "Said," "like," "swords" and "Judas Priest" don't bother me all that much, though. I mean, however.

[added further]: okay, I couldn't resist doing one for King Dork's opening chapter ("August.") Tom Henderson's voice is still rather equivocal, judging from the prominent "though," but quite a bit less so than either of the two third person (extremely) limited narratives above. I don't know what it means, if anything, but it does make me want to try to write something with no "though"s at all, just to see what it would be like:


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Jumpin' Jack Flash

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July 22, 2008

You really have to display information...

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July 21, 2008

Good Times

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July 20, 2008

Whoa Buck

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July 19, 2008

Mr. George Harrison Sings

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July 18, 2008

Cheerful Little Earful

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I recall I once heard a story...

Man cuts off own head.

(via Sasha and a few others.)

Speaking of which, sort of, I'm off for an evening of "punk" at the Edinburgh Castle now. Okay.

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Linda Goes to Mars

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July 17, 2008

My White Bicycle

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July 16, 2008

Birthday Party

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July 15, 2008

Les Sucettes

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July 14, 2008

Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?

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Dear Mr. Obama: Please Stop Crashing My Computer

I really enjoy all the Atlantic bloggers "voices," but those grandiose Obama ads on the top and sidebar really wreak havoc with my Safari. I don't know if it's because of the graphic itself or because the server is overloaded by all the blogs that are trying to load them simultaneously - or possibly there is some other cause. But all this Obamatlantic beachballing is kind of a drag.

It's worst when the top banner and the side panel try to load at the same time, which is pretty often. Half the time, I end up having to abort mission, i.e., force quit. I also kind of have to wonder about the theory behind them. What is meant to be the effect of the flash-imated Obama-rise? It's not like they have to compete for attention with all the space-age McCain ads - in fact, now that I think about it, I've never seen a McCain web ad, on the Atlantic or anywhere else. I mean, yes, I guess it got my attention because it made me investigate why my system kept freezing up. I think there is pretty much zero chance he will lose, so why not a nice, easy-going, benign, harmless, still picture with like a flag or something?

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Sacramento (a Wonderful Town)

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Beat Girl

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July 13, 2008


I'm doing a couple of readings in San Francisco this week.

(a) this "punk" one on Thursday, July 17, at Edinburgh Castle, 950 Geary St., San Francisco, CA, with Stephanie Keuhnert, Erick Lyle, Blag Dahlia, and Ammi Emergency, and MC Jack Boulware. 6:30-8:30 PM.

and (b) this one on Saturday, July 19, at the Makeout Room, 3225 22nd St., San Francisco, CA. 415 647 2888. With Neal Pollack, Ethan Canin, Tara Jepson, and Po Bronson. 7 PM.

It's gonna be "reading series" style, which means each of the readers stand up one after another and read out loud for ten minutes or so. Plus comedy and music at the Makeout Room. I may end up playing a song or two at the Edinburgh Castle event if I can borrow someone's guitar.

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Summer Holiday & Me

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July 12, 2008

Hey St. Peter

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July 11, 2008


(thanks Clive!)

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Banana Split

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July 04, 2008

Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba

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July 03, 2008

Quark, Strangeness, and Charm

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It could only happen on the internets

John Derbyshire dips into his teenaged daughter's reading list, samples King Dork, and reports the results on National Review Online.

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July 02, 2008

I'm So Free

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Penetrating Qs and Verbose As

The King Dork audiobook in mp3 form is now available on eMusic, and in conjunction with that they have put up this Q&A.

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July 01, 2008

Light Flight

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