Sep 092014


At my house, I decide that I’d like to make, say, chili tonight.


I go to the store to get the stuff I need to make chili. At the checkout, the checkout guy looks at what I’ve bought.

Checkout Guy (knowing look): Chili tonight, eh?

 Posted by at 5:57 pm No Responses »
Aug 152014

New Idea: Huck comes back, 60 years old, from nobody knows where – and crazy. Thinks he is a boy again, and scans always every face for Tom and Becky, etc. Tom comes at last from wandering the world and tends Huck, and together they talk the old times, both are desolate, life has been a failure, all that was lovable, all that was beautiful is under the mold. They die together. – Mark Twain’s Notebooks and Journals, Vol. III 606

I came across that while doing some research on Mark Twain. I’m sure it would have been better than those sequels where Tom and Huck take a hot air balloon to the moon, or whatever those were.

My research also led me to The Official Web Site of Mark Twain, which you wouldn’t believe how crappy it is. There’s a quotes section, and on the first page the heading is “Quotes by Twain,” but by the second and third pages it’s just “Quotes by Client.”  And here are two selections from the Information section:

all the infomration has

more than happy to check it out

The reason for the weirdness (and talk of “Client”) is that the site is run by CMG Worldwide, an intellectual property firm that has the rights to all sorts of famous dead peoples’ websites. Andy Kaufman’s, for instance. Here’s something on the homepage of the official Andy Kaufman website:

andy kaufman

And here’s something from the Official Malcolm X homepage:by any means

I found some reviews of this company on I will separate those reviews into two categories, see if you can guess what the distinction between them is. Pros and cons from the first category:

Pro: “some people that work there are nice and professional”

Con: “you may be asked to do some things to benefit the company that most people would find unethical”

Pro: “not much to do”

Con: “no future”

Pros and cons from the second category:

Pro: “The boss really goes out of his way to help his employees. Anything from writing them letters of recommendation for graduate school to driving them home when the roads are snowy. Other pros: beautiful office building, potluck pitch-in lunches and parties, office gym and ping-pong table.”

Con: “wide range of people at CMG. some very talented people and also some people who make you wonder how they got a job there at all. But I guess this is true of any office.”

Pro: “CMG is an incredibly reputable company.”

Con: “Parking was limited in the office building. Not a lot of storage space in the office, therefore the kitchen seemed slightly cluttered with boxes lying on the floor.”

Pro: “Mark is a great CEO. Really cares about his employees and very professional. Best in the world at what he does…you can learn a lot from him.”

Con: “No cons, except some of the employees are really lazy and inefficient when Mark is in LA at his other office.”

Advice to senior management: “fire some of the lazy inefficient employees.”

“Other pros” and “No cons” are features that should be automatically available for every review. And that “snowy roads” thing must mean that he also drove them there, right? “There’s too much snow for you to get to work today? Well, there’s not too much for ME to come PICK YOU UP!”

CMG and Mark:
again by any means

 Posted by at 4:14 pm No Responses »
Jul 212014

She’s back!

That lady whose face was eaten off by her best friend’s powerful chimpanzee Travis returned to the spotlight last week, when she traveled to Washington to advocate for legislation that would restrict the sale of primates as pets.

Nice! But what sealed it as the PR Win of the Week? How about the fact that the announcement was timed to coincide with the release of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the last film James Franco starred in before his death? Insiders say that this tactic was was more enough to sway the pols on Capitol Hill, who approved the new laws in record time.

But we wonder if the lady’s success might also have had something to do with her newly reconstructed face:


That face, we hear, has the power to change colors rapidly, and the lady was really blazing through those colors when she spoke before Congress. A number of the legislators seemed to fall under the influence of the color sequences, which may be part of the reason they tacked on a rider that immediately made the lady the legal caretaker of all the pet primates in the United States.

So, what does she plan to use them for? One word: revenge!

Revenge on us all.

 Posted by at 4:07 pm No Responses »
Jul 172014


I’ll never forget the day that Mikey and I raced to the little island in the middle of the river. As we stood on the bank, Mikey said the water was moving too fast, but I told him he was chicken. That was that. We jumped in and I swam as hard as I could. I knew I had reached the island first, but when I turned around to celebrate, I couldn’t see Mikey anywhere. He had disappeared beneath the water. I just sat there, waiting for him to come up. But he never did.

For years, I felt a crushing sense of guilt. It was only much later that I learned to forgive myself. Because eventually it turned out that Mikey hadn’t drowned at all: he had been taken away by some drifters with scuba gear.

They had gotten the gear almost accidentally, when they decided to murder the owner of a diveshop a few towns over. They started going on all kinds of aquatic raids then, and I guess eventually they decided they had enough loot to start a drifter-family. That’s when they took Mikey. He was with them for seventeen years.

So that was bad, obviously. But it wasn’t a fate worse than death, was it? Well, that’s what Mikey kept saying when we reconnected after he escaped.

“It was a fate worse than death,” he said after he had cornered me. “And you left me to it.”

That was another thing he kept saying: that I had seen what was happening and hadn’t done anything.

“It took a long time for them to subdue me, and hook me up to the extra tank, and my head kept bobbing up from under the water. And I could see you watching from the island! They tried to get you but you swung a big branch at them and that made it too hard for them to climb onto land, so they focused on me instead.”

So I just thought that was pretty annoying, the way Mikey kept harping on this stuff even though it was in the past. I guess even best friends can naturally grow apart over the years.

 Posted by at 7:59 pm 1 Response »
Jun 182014

That’s what a naked guy on a bicycle said to me when I was driving home the other day, and got stuck beside an endless procession of naked people on bikes. The purpose of the ride seemed to be nudity awareness of one sort or another.

I drove slowly alongside them for about 20 minutes. A cry I heard at several points: “Injury! Injury!”

I needed to turn right and even put on my blinker for a tiny second, but turned it off because I was too scared. Yes, it seems that being confronted by the reality of the human body can be a frightening experience!

No! Not really. Their wobbly ranks just kept a-comin’, and I didn’t want to disturb them on “their day.” After all the wrongs inflicted by society. (But now I’m wondering, wouldn’t it have been more respectful to attempt a right turn? It would have given them a chance to confront some of the problems they will encounter if they wish to make this a permanent feature of our roads).

They were also really quite wobbly. Once, in high school, I was driving along and suddenly the entire opposite lane was being taken up by a bike race. I looked at one guy who was a little wobbly and thought, “I wonder if he would fall into this lane if he crashed,” and one second later he fell down, slid into my lane, and I drove over the rear wheel of his bike. Everyone else started crashing, too, and I saw one guy bike over another guy’s head.

I pulled over and the police arrived immediately and when I got the chance to talk to them, I said, “I think I ran one guy’s bike over.”

“Was your vehicle damaged?” they asked. It wasn’t so I went on my way. But I always remembered how long it had taken to finally get to talk to them, and I also always remembered that I hadn’t gotten any trouble. I resolved that if I ever found myself in a similar situation again, I would just do a hit and run.

Not that I necessarily wanted it to get to that point. And as wobbly as that one racer had been, these nakeds were far wobblier, so I decided to do an illegal u-turn instead. But as soon as I did, I heard sirens and saw policemen on motorcycles in my rear view mirror. I was scared – and mad at myself! I should have done that damn hit and run while I had the chance.

But they sped past me and then they started zooming in and out and around the naked riders, whipping them with their sharpened police whips.

That’s all I have to say for now. I guess I’m still trying to sort through what this experience meant to me.

 Posted by at 11:28 pm No Responses »
May 272014

david foster wallace biopic

Finally got my hands on a screener of the forthcoming David Foster Wallace biopic, “The End of the Tour.” It’s an adaptation of an unpublished Rolling Stone interview/Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, and stars Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg. On first viewing, it’s pretty good. Segel speaks in a what sounds like a British accent (??), but he gets Wallace’s mannerisms down, and the effects they used to make him look really sweaty are convincing (though, come to think of it, he may actually just be wearing some mechanized geysers under his clothes).

The biggest issue for me is related to the film’s subtitle: Beneath the Bandana. Going in, I thought it was a sort of meaningless flourish, or whatever. But, from the beginning, it’s clear that it’s actually a question the film wants to ANSWER. And so when the Wallace character is speaking, the camera will constantly be zooming in on the bandana. Then it cuts back to Eisenberg’s interviewer, and he’ll be all squinting and rubbing his chin and craning his neck around – trying to catch a glimpse of whatever the Wallace character has in there!

Or, more accurately, what he’s hiding in there. The Wallace character is presented as singularly devoted to concealing that secret. He’s always clumsily placing his hands and arms in front of it, and whenever he seems to sense that the camera is zooming in, he’ll start trying to move his head out of the frame.

To be clear, the film doesn’t end up showing what’s beneath it, so don’t go if that’s the number one reason you want to see this. But without revealing too much, there IS a brief teaser at the end that features Jonathan Franzen and that “deskeletonizing amulet” that’s always popping up in his books…so perhaps we’ll find out more in future installments?

Fingers crossed.

 Posted by at 6:14 pm No Responses »