Category Archives: writing

A Nalepka Noir Novelette

Here it is, the longest piece of fiction I’ve ever written;zmajbigNALEPKE a comic noir novelette, complete, unabridged, with special-edition DVD-only extras, hot off the WordPress. Fair warning: there are a lot of in-jokes, puns, and references that only people familiar with Slovenia and Ljubljana will get, but I hope the rest of you will find something there of value. If nothing else, it’s original and it is My Thing. Access is free, but there is a button to donate something via GoFundMe if the spirit moves you. If you like it, share. And enjoy.

That URL again:

https://themesecnikfiles.wordpress.com/

Explaining that once notorious, long-forgotten Sandra review, at last

Because it’s time…

sandrab_review_1985_two

The original infamous review, from Boston Rock magazine.

Let’s go back to 1985. I was in my mid-twenties, living in Boston and busy not making a living as a music critic for several publications in the city, including Sweet Potato, the Boston Herald, and my local favorite, Boston Rock, for which I wrote a monthly column, “Cave 76” (lifting the title from a Mel Brooks-Carl Reiner 2000 Year Old Man routine), plus occasional side excursions for the likes of the Illinois Entertainer and Spin magazine. I also took it into my head to put out the first issue of my own zine, X It Out. My brain was bubbling with ideas, not always good ones, but I enjoyed stretching my writing wings, fiddling with the forms, seeing what was possible and what I could do. It was a heady time.

So one day a record came in to the Boston Rock offices: I’m Your Woman, the debut album from the hip comedian Sandra Bernhard. I don’t remember whether the editor suggested it to me or I asked to review it, but ultimately, I wrote the following review for the mag. To the credit of the editor, Billie Best, she ran it verbatim, as follows:

SANDRA BERNHARD

I’m Your Woman

Mercury, LP

  Talk about your concept albums — part of the joke is this sardonic, juicy comedienne’s making a record at all. Bernhard’s not really a singer, but she had a dream: spoken-word monologues of varying length fitted between mainstream soul-ish, pop-ish numbers of varying tempo (nothing too fast), written by the artiste with varying collaborators. Commend her for adventuring. If most songs are lachrymose and ill-structured, most of the raps rate five stars for dry wit delivered by one of the world’s most drippingly sexy speaking voices. Bernhard’s mock narcissism is arousingly cute; so are her monologues on lovers’ baby talk, fantasies about your best friend dying in a plane crash, and the starfucking lyrics of “Near the Top.” Bernhard is a thinking man’s wet dream. I want to fuck this woman.

Really?

“I want to fuck this woman.”

Now, I really didn’t (to the best of my recollection) want to fuck Sandra Bernhard. (Yes, I know she’s bisexual/lesbian, doesn’t matter, who cares.) The reason I included it in the review was that I had in my head, “What if a record reviewer really said what he was thinking…that he wanted to fuck the artist he was reviewing, but of course wasn’t going to come out and actually say it…but what if, in this one instance…”

In other words: It was meta. Playful.

It was about fucking with the form, not wanting to fuck the singer. Big difference. And though I’m not calling myself the rockcrit version of Andy Kaufman, there was something of the same spirit behind this particular stunt. Bratty, yes, but original, as far as I could tell.

Although in 1985 the concept of “meta”was hardly unknown, it was perhaps not nearly as ubiquitous as it is now. You might say the same about Sandra Bernhard — although this was her debut album, she was already 30 years old and no ingenue; two years had passed since she first gained significant notice in the film The King of Comedy , in which she co-starred with Robert DeNiro and Jerry Lewis. Hipsters and critics were aware, most were fans.

I didn’t tell a soul about my actual reason behind the last line in the review. Billie, who, although she took her job as a music-mag editor seriously, usually had a high sense of humor about it all, made some wry remark (we had a teasing relationship whenever I’d show up in the office, but I appreciated that she, on some level, appreciated how my mind worked) and let it go.

When, some time later, I met some fellow rockcrits down at the Rat, they were highly amused at the review, since Sandra Bernhard was soon coming to town to perform: “Give her the review and say, don’t read the last line!” said the Globe freelancer, gleefully.

These days, according to Wikipedia, Bernhard’s original LP “is considered highly collectible and often fetches upwards of $100 at auction.” It probably doesn’t hurt that she poses in her underwear on the front cover (raising an electric guitar high above her head) and on the back cover, assumes a come-hither pose between silk sheets.

No, I don’t pine for Sandra as what-might-have-been, but I’m glad it’s all worked out for her.

Oh, I still have the LP. Not for sale.

sandrabernhardimyourwoman

 

 

 

Yet another requiem for the Boston Phoenix

Phoenix pages 5

Some of my headlines.

As you may have heard, the Boston Phoenix, a storied 47-year-old alternative newsweekly, is no more, a victim of the online age and the resulting revenue free-fall that has left print media decimated and gasping for air everywhere in the First World. Since the announcement a week ago, when the publisher suddenly removed the paper from life support, tributes, eulogies and encomiums have poured in from the four corners, mainly from former staffers and freelancers, from Susan Orlean in the New Yorker to Camille Dodero on Gawker to Charles Pierce on grantland.com to the Phoenix’s own editor-in-chief, Carly Carioli, on its in-house blog. (For a clear-eyed view of both management failures and the paper’s diminished role in today’s media landscape, see Peter Vigneron’s piece on the Boston Magazine blog.) All of them speak with far more eloquence and insight on the subject than I could hope to provide, and the greatest favor I could do you, gentle reader, is refer you to them. But the feeling persists that I should say a few words about my history with the Phoenix. I know, of course, that it’s not all about me, but this paper — or more correctly, its staffers — did play a significant part in my growth as a writer, and I learned certain useful things there that have stayed with me to this day.

I freelanced fairly regularly for the Phoenix between 1989 and 1996. Aside from an abortive stint as a freelance copy editor, I was never on the paper’s inside crew and had only brief glimpses of its inner workings, mainly when I would come in to discuss a piece with an editor or even, in those pre-Internet days, bang out a piece on one of its vintage computer terminals. The paper had a well-deserved reputation in those days — beginning way before I arrived and continuing way after I left — of not paying its staffers well (or, God knows, its freelancers), but attracted an extraordinary amount of talent by offering them a different coin, that of allowing them the freedom to write about things they cared about as long as they cared enough to perform due diligence and, oh yes, to write well. (For lists of the distinguished arts critics and investigative reporters who toiled for a time at the Phoenix, I refer you to the links above.)

The first piece I wrote for the Phoenix was an article about gift calendars that ran in a holiday supplement in December of 1985. It was assigned to me by the then editor of the lifestyle section, Sandra (Sandy) Shea. I remember her joking with me, as we were walking outside the Phoenix’s offices on the grittier end of Newbury Street, about how editors at the paper were paid less than fresh hires at the local TV stations. Her remarks had nothing to do with it, but it would be nearly four years before I’d start writing for the Phoenix again (my recollections are hazy as to why this gap ensued, but it was probably a combination of my freelancing for other outlets, the non-receptiveness of certain Phoenix editors to my pitches, or simply the time not being right).

November of ’89 pretty much coincided with Caroline Knapp‘s ascension from columnist to Styles (as in Lifestyles) editor. I first met her a few weeks before that, when I complimented her on a column she’d written and she acknowledged it with a shyness almost painful to witness. Caroline — an intensely self-directed, really smart person who exemplified the David Foster Wallace quote about writers being “exhibitionists in private,” since she let it all out in print and nowhere else (at least nowhere I observed) — must have seen something in me that I probably didn’t even see in myself, since my relationship with her — which never extended outside of the office — was instrumental in my broadening my horizons from record and concert reviews to writing about subjects like the arts scene on South Street and the South End of Boston; the resurgence of religion, in newer and more interesting forms; the so-called “men’s movement,” midwifed (or mid-husbanded) by Robert Bly, which made the cover, subtitled “Why are so many men dancing, chanting, spear-throwing, and running naked through the woods?”; ruminations on the baby boomers vs. Generation X, a trendy topic in late ’92; and a long piece on the science of memory, for which I interviewed the director of the Memory Disorders Research Center at Boston University’s medical school.  Working on such pieces, I developed a journalistic voice that still appeals to me — one without a spin or agenda, at least not an overt one. It’s a voice that, ideally, just presents the facts and lets the readers make up their own mind about which side to take. To this day, I enjoy interviewing people — I like the challenge of thinking up interesting, out-of-the-ordinary questions that might illuminate some hitherto unknown aspects of the interviewee’s character.

For some reason — perhaps I was unconsciously looking for mentors — I found myself especially drawn to those Phoenix staffers I perceived as being adults, Serious People, like Caroline and the dignified, reliably sober Carolyn Clay, who had been the Phoenix’s theater editor and chief drama critic since time immemorial, in which post she continued until the bitter end. There were a couple of other editors and writers I’d known before their Phoenix days, but I suppose I felt most comfortable around the Serious People; I liked the challenge of winning them over (which succeeded, well, some of the time).

Throughout all these excursions I continued to write about musicians and comedians for the arts section, along with a bunch of cheap-eats restaurant reviews and even an article on the rising Seattle rock scene, reported from on location in the Pacific Northwest hub, which was published June 21, 1991, mere nanoseconds before the release of “Nevermind” (no, I wasn’t prescient enough to score an interview with Kurt, Courtney and company, though I did at least chat with Messrs. Pavitt and Poneman, the lords of SubPop, and Scott McCaughey of the Young Fresh Fellows). For what it’s worth, I also wrote one “Cellars by Starlight,” the longtime local-music column which, in the hands of a succession of accomplished, dedicated writers, did much to promote, cohere and, I’m sure, encourage generations of Boston musicians. I took over for the issue of July 17, 1992; it was an honor. (Just for the record, I think the relationship between musicians and the people who write about them isn’t parasitic, it’s symbiotic, or at least it should be. Writers tell people things they should know; musicians show people ways they can feel.)

My contributions to the Phoenix are largely offline and likely to remain so, except for a very few pieces archived in a piecemeal fashion on bostonphoenix.com. Aside from a couple of short record reviews, my online Phoenix archive consists of a 1996 recap of a post-Grateful Dead music festival at Great Woods and my next-to-last article for the paper, this July 1999 article about my home at the time, Slovenia (picked up by the Weekly Wire website). If newsprint exists only in some writer’s dusty, yellowing scrapbooks and not online, did it ever matter beyond the day or week of publication? In some people’s memories, perhaps, if one is lucky; but one can’t know such things. I hope the online archives continue to be maintained in a reasonable way by someone, somewhere.

My very last piece for the Phoenix was a report on the memorial service in London for the singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl, which ran in January, 2001 (for some reason it’s not archived on the Phoenix site, but you can find it elsewhere on this blog). By then I’d long since moved on from Boston, and the Phoenix, both physically and mentally.

And yes, again, I know: It’s not about me. Dozens of staffers are currently looking for another job, and who knows how many important articles, reviews and columns won’t get written.  The cruise ship has sunk in the North Atlantic, and freezing, wet journalists in life jackets are clinging to the wreckage. (Okay, I’ll stop.)

I sometimes reflect about the natures of journalists — whose role in life is, ostensibly, to tell the rest of us about stuff we at least theoretically ought to be paying attention to, stuff we should know — and how, at least in the alternative-newspaper universe, they’re so often put down by outsiders, the normals, as being, well, kind of weird. The Phoenix was the antithesis of a buttoned-down workplace, and it’s striking to me that in all of the reminiscences I’ve read about the paper, almost none of it relates to the work itself, the stuff that was written; all of the writers’ memories have to do with their relationships with the other writers and editors on the staff. As if they’re taking for granted that the work was important, but that the work speaks for itself. What’s not so apparent, perhaps, what could use a little publicity, has to do with journalists explaining themselves to themselves, why they chose that life, or why it chose them.

The Boston Phoenix closing its doors is sad, for sure, but the atomized molecules of the staff will eventually recombine, coagulate and express themselves in different forms. One day you look up from what you were doing, look around, a bit dazed perhaps, and realize that you’ve built a life in a certain place; that it was as permanent as anything could expect to be in this world, that is, not permanent at all; but if you’re lucky, you have other people around you who knew what it meant to you, knew what you did there, and valued you and were, in turn, themselves valued. It has to have meant something.

That’s the news this evening. Good luck, all.

You can read it in the Sunday papers

I’ve had a busy weekend in print in the Austin American-Statesman. Here’s my interview with comedian Steven Wright, in advance of his playing a new comedy festival in Austin, the Moontower Comedy & Oddity Fest. I remember Wright from his early days starting out in Boston’s comedy clubs, and it was good to talk with him and inquire into the workings of his unique mind.

Oh, and I also interviewed Carol Burnett, who’s making an appearance in Austin on Tuesday. I know it’s usual for journalists to affect a blasé pose about the people they speak with for print, but this one is kind of special for me. It’s also one instance where my being old enough to, well, remember the Carol Burnett Show (and rather well) was a distinct advantage. It took me right back to my high school drama club, where her show was part of the cultural fabric and one student thespian of my acquaintance worshiped her as the be-all and the end-all. Carol did seem to be one of the nicest people ever and she did not disabuse me of this in our conversation and I even made her laugh a couple of times. She also told me an interesting anecdote about how she turned down the lead role in the original Broadway production of “Funny Girl” and might have given a huge career boost to someone named Barbra.

Finally, I wrote a sidebar referencing the repurposing of Burnett’s childhood home in San Antonio as an early-childhood education center (which explores the little-known connection between Burnett and former San Antonio mayor and US education secretary Henry Cisneros).

I’ll just end by quoting myself from the main article:

<<Burnett might be, as she describes herself, “a clown,” but she also seems to be one of the few remaining people in show business who is a fully functioning grown-up. If you come to the show you might get to ask her a question yourself, or just say: Thanks, Carol.>>

Some e-cards I’ve done

To amuse myself (I certainly don’t do it for money, because it doesn’t pay anything), I’ve created some e-cards on this popular website. I invite you to browse through them; I make no guarantee that you’ll find them amusing. Many of them originated as Facebook or Twitter posts. This particular card was named an Editor’s Pick and has gotten over 33,000 hits to date. Can I have a cut of that, now?

Cleaning Up, or: Past Performance is No Guarantee

  I don’t write a lot of fiction, but when I do it definitely bends toward the comic. I’d like to do rather more of it. I originally wrote this short story at the Spoleto Writers’ Workshop in Spoleto, Italy, in the summer of 1999. It was an idyllic week where all I had to do was hang out with other writers, eat wonderful Umbrian cuisine, attend the occasional class and take part in various writing exercises. It seems a million miles away now, but I can see it as clearly as I do the view out my window today. I was living in Slovenia at the time, and I expected that the creative writing I’d be doing in Spoleto would involve my experiences in Central Europe. Instead, curious things popped up that surprised no one more than me. I ended up exorcising the demons of Long Island and my youth and paying a certain kind of tribute to a certain milieu that I had observed, from a distance, for quite a while. I’m presenting it here with only slight revisions from the original, for those who, for whatever reason, might be interested to read it.

The Collected Tweets, 2009-2010

It took me awhile to appreciate Twitter. People use it for all sorts of reasons – marketing, blowing their horn, making pronouncements to the fan base from on high – but I appreciate it the most as both a writing exercise and a steam valve. Since I believe my greatest sin as a writer is sometimes not knowing when to cut things short, I appreciate Twitter for forcing me to do so — though I still wish it permitted a few more words in a single post than it does. I’ve edited out perhaps 10 percent of my actual Twitter posts, most of which dealt with links to articles I’d written,  notations on of the death of a minor celebrity, or simply ephemera (assuming that all of Twitter isn’t just that).  Some of the posts served double duty as Facebook statuses, though I came to think of Twitter as an outlet for saying what I really thought and didn’t censor myself nearly as much. It is what it is; if you read through it all, I hope you don’t consider it time wasted. Tweet away.

@Pogoer

Wes Eichenwald

Austin, Texas

Just another pixel-stained technopeasant staring out the window.

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Happy ’11 to all. Does this mean we get yet another chance to get it right this time?

31 Dec 2010

Pogoer Wes Eichenwald

He said his name was Piso Mojado, and that we had to be careful around him.

31 Dec

It’s never too early to have a happy childhood.

25 Dec

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The People may have the Power, but they sure don’t use it effectively.

28 Nov

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If we have a Thanksgiving, how about a Bitch About How Much Life Sucks Day to balance things out? Of course, for most that’s every day.

23 Nov

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This note isn’t really from me, it’s from my Desk. So there.

23 Nov

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So what makes these…Americans…think they’re so special, anyway?

22 Nov

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Every time someone on the internet implores me to ‘please read this’ it immediately makes me want to run in the other direction, and fast.

22 Nov

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I’m sure that in the end the things we thought were of the utmost importance will be shown to be nothing much, and vice versa.

21 Nov

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Everyone eventually becomes what they were meant to be, if they live long enough.

20 Nov

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In order to improve the quality of a nation’s elected officials, you must first improve the quality of the general population.

18 Nov

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If only all those people overly concerned with proper English usage would apply a bit of their efforts to LEARNING A SECOND LANGUAGE.

12 Nov

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Sorry, but comparing myself to the worst-off, unluckiest people on the earth doesn’t really make me feel like I shouldn’t complain.

10 Nov

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Wondering if it’s inevitable that self-aware hipsters grow up and end up hating the person they were 20 years previously.

7 Nov

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Nobody ever talks about how much of a short, bland trip it’s been.

4 Nov

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When exactly was it when people stopped having skills and started having ‘skill sets’?

24 Oct

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Bring me the head of fettucine alfredo, is that how that goes?

14 Oct

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Since when is it a disaster if the S on your cape is a little frayed? — C. Butler

14 Oct

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“Writing’s kind of like exhibitionism in private.” — D.F. Wallace

5 Oct

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“Most of the writers I know are weird hybrids. There’s a strong streak of egomania coupled with extreme shyness.” — David Foster Wallace

5 Oct

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Where I come from, Talk Like a Pirate Day is considered the conclusion of the High Holidays.

8 Sep

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Very few people with actual children have much patience for listening to others go on at length about their cats and dogs. There’s a reason.

17 Aug

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It’s not really your birthday, it’s Acknowledge My Existence Day.

12 Aug

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Is there anything more bittersweet than doing the shoulda-woulda game of rewriting your own history from age 17 on?

10 Aug

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I can’t imagine anything more insulting than being eulogized by some religious figure you never even met in life.

30 Jul

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People consider their birthdays important because for many, it’s the greatest burst of recognition they’ll ever get until the eulogy.

30 Jul

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Suppurating succotash!

6 Jul

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Enough with the vampire stuff, already.

3 Jul

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If Donald Duck was just created this year, his nephews would be named Aiden, Caden and Jaden.

30 Jun

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Anyone who goes around saying “Second place just means you’re the first loser” needs to be shot immediately.

25 Jun

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If you appreciate being informed, thank a journalist. If you appreciate being misinformed, thank Fox News.

1 Jun

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I’d be very happy never to hear anyone sing “House of the Rising Sun” again for the rest of my natural days.

27 May

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Alive is the new dead.

19 May

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I believe marriage should be between a horse and a cow and no other species.

6 May

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Dear Marketing Dept.: My mom’s been dead 20 years and I’m not going to be buying her a special anything this Mother’s Day, pls stop emails.

3 May

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It’s hard to continue playing the brat provocateur when one is eligible to join AARP. One must eventually move on to other pursuits.

27 Apr

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One reason I’m glad I have kids is nobody ever tells me I’m overcompensating for not being able to own a dog or cat.

26 Apr

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Actually, socialism IS working out rather well for me, thank you. I think we should have rather more of it.

26 Apr

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Make mine a double.

19 Apr

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Nobody really cares if it’s someone else’s birthday. We just pretend to care because we want them to pretend to care when it’s ours.

19 Apr

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Why are we supposed to care if it’s the anniversary of anything?

19 Apr

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The best thing I ever did in my life was move away from Massachusetts.

19 Apr

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Really happy to receive my copy of the “T.A.M.I Show Collectors Edition” DVD in the mail. Long time coming (about 45 years).

11 Apr

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Sorry, I won’t go to a rally to protest the appearance of someone with whose opinions I disagree. Giant waste of time. Just ignore ’em!

11 Apr

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What’s all this “Philip Seymour Hoffman” crap? Dude, just call yourself Phil Hoffman, no need to be a pretentious twit.

7 Apr

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The perfect response when a stranger inquires how you are is, “As well as can be expected under the Circumstances.” Let them wonder.

7 Apr

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Idea for tombstone epitaph: “I’m keeping my options open.” Not my grave, someone else’s.

6 Apr

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Most holidays in the US seem to revolve around purchasing and eating candy. Little chocolate twin towers on the 9/11 anniversary, anyone?

3 Apr

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Never underestimate the political power of selfishness and stupidity.

3 Apr

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Sorry, but I’d be quite happy not hearing anybody’s new version of ‘Over the Rainbow’ for the rest of my life.

26 Mar

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I don’t get this ’80s nostalgia thing. I was there. On the whole, it didn’t seem all that great to me.

26 Mar

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Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.

22 Mar

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Nocoj so dovoljene sanje. Jutri je nov dan. (Tonight dreams are allowed. Tomorrow is a new day.) — Milan Kucan

21 Mar

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The middle of nowhere? Why, as near as I can figure that’s most places.

19 Mar

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Ave atque vale, Alex Chilton. Why do so many of the weird good people die younger than they should?

18 Mar

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What’s so funny ’bout the Great Society?

17 Mar

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The longer I live, the more I become convinced that nobody really knows anything about anyone. Perhaps I’m in the wrong profession.

16 Mar

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Sorry, but there are better causes to get involved in than getting the Academy to recognize your fave dead star in their Oscar memorial reel

15 Mar

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I think old people who need hip replacements should get to leave the old hip under their pillow for the Hip Fairy to reimburse them.

9 Mar

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It’s hard to look really cool while you’re waiting at a bus stop.

4 Mar

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I wouldn’t join a Facebook group that would have me as a member.

1 Mar

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The Summer Olympics end with a marathon; the Winter Olympics, with a hockey game. Now if there were only a way to combine the two…

28 Feb

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Summer already?

28 Feb

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Helping your five-year-old son make his first snowman in your backyard in Austin, Texas is such a really great thing.

23 Feb

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Can you have senioritis if you’re not in high school?

21 Feb

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When even politicians don’t want to be in politics anymore, what does that say?

20 Feb

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Does anyone outside of Austin and Salon.com and the Maddow show care that there was a terrorist attack here yesterday? Yes, it was.

19 Feb

Plane crashes into office building in north Austin, Texas today. Too close for comfort.

18 Feb

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“I’m nostalgic for some sour milk I drank in 1989. It tasted pretty bad, but I was so much younger when I drank it, so I miss it.”

18 Feb

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Populism wouldn’t be so bad in practice if it attracted a better sort of people.

18 Feb

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Nostalgia is OK in small doses, but one must guard against the tendency to romanticize things that weren’t that great in the first place.

17 Feb

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Wishing everyone a happy Valentine’s Day/President’s Day/Mardi Gras-Carnaval-Fasching/Chinese New Year/Purim/Winter Olympics festival.

14 Feb

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Who is this John Mayer person and why do people think what he says is important?

14 Feb

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Nostalgia for the ’90s? Whaaaa? When did they go away?

14 Feb

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When people pay $600 to sit in the cheap seats, they’re probably expecting a big hoo-ha of a show no matter what.

13 Feb

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Constantly talking about the weather is code for “My life is boring, and there is nothing else.” Discuss.

10 Feb

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Hard to believe that I used to routinely stay up ’til 1 a.m. Fuhgeddaboudit now.

8 Feb

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It’s Groundhog Day. Again.

2 Feb

This chauffeur I hired to take me to the wine fair is driving me to drink.

22 Jan

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Condolences to my Dem friends in Mass., but you’re officially enjoined from looking down on Texas politics ever again…

19 Jan

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Tired of being expected to vote for a candidate whose main qualification is that he/she is only half as horrible as the other candidate.

17 Jan

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You do know that nobody cares what you had for lunch.

14 Jan

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Wrote a song in 15 minutes today, “Success Is Just As Bad As Failure.” Look for it on YouTube in the near future, maybe. Yee-ha.

11 Jan

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News flash: Everything you know is wrong. Shouldn’t really be a surprise at this point…

11 Jan

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“If life gives you lemons, get a gun and start shooting people at random.” — Unofficial motto of the USA

7 Jan

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I’d be able to take Bono a tad more seriously if he’d take off those stupid sunglasses already.

5 Jan

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Although it’s a new decade, there seems to be no alteration in the stupidity quotient, at least at this early point.

3 Jan

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Well, back to reality we go…

2 Jan

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Everybody’s working for the week. End.

1 Jan

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Won’t be eating Hopping John today, won’t miss it.

1 Jan

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Wishing all twittering folk sanity and good judgment (for themselves AND from others) in the Tens and Teens.

31 Dec 09

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Tired of year-end lists, decade-end lists, books of lists, lists of lists, lists of anything

30 Dec 09

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Can we all agree to call the new year “twenty ten” and not “two thousand and ten” in the English language?

29 Dec 09

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I expect the phrase “bomb-laden underpants” to become part of the culture for awhile, at least until, say, Elvis’s birthday.

29 Dec 09

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Just once in my life I’d like to hear Leonard Cohen sing “Do the Hucklebuck.”

26 Dec 09

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Would rather write my own program than get with whatever program I’m expected to get with. Just the kind of guy I am.

26 Dec 09

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Truly can’t stand Garrison Keillor, wish he would just go away already.

26 Dec 09

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So glad I live in a town where you don’t have to ‘reserve’ parking spaces after a snowstorm. Just makes me hate the world that much more.

21 Dec 09

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Face it: Most people’s wedding albums look like stills from corny Hollywood movies reshot with ugly people.

20 Dec 09

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I’m done defending Obama.

17 Dec 09

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Together, Bernie Madoff and Lieberman have done more to set back the Jews than anyone since Hitler.

16 Dec 09

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How come you can be disappointed in someone, but not appointed with them? Unless you actually do have an appointment with them.

16 Dec 09

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A lot of writers only look good on paper. And some of them should only be so lucky.

10 Dec 09

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There’s a kind of hush all over the world tonight. It really creeps me out.

10 Dec 09

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Who are these people who think professional golfers should be role models, anyway?

9 Dec 09

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I have accepted Stan “The Man” Musial as my personal savior.

9 Dec 09

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Hacking the spew in the modality paradigm, for synergy and grins.

7 Dec 09

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Which decade is this year the end of, again?

5 Dec 09

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Enjoying snow falling on Austin today, however briefly.

4 Dec 09

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“Everything happens for a reason,” some people say — maybe true, but they don’t mention that it’s often a BAD reason…

29 Nov 09

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Ah, life.

27 Nov 09

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I would rather have root canal surgery again than read another comment on the Common Dreams website.

25 Nov 09

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Wondering if there will be any Black Friday fatalities from customer stampedes this year.

25 Nov 09

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Waiting for my call to be a judge on “Iron Chef.” It’ll probably be a while.

22 Nov 09

Just saw someone else’s life flash before my eyes

17 Nov 09

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Once again, it’s all about you.

15 Nov 09

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How come nobody ever stews in someone else’s juices?

13 Nov 09

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Most of what I dream about involves being sidetracked on my way from Point A to Point B. Et vous?

9 Nov 09

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I know, there’s something very wrong about posting on Twitter to complain about how superficial Facebook is…

6 Nov 09

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All I want for the holidays is a music box that plays “Anarchy in the UK” in a sweet, tinkly, music-boxy way.

5 Nov 09

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Nothing but yin and yang the whole day. What a drag.

5 Nov 09

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Tired of turkeys and thinks Thanksgiving would be vastly improved if it was traditional to eat good Thai, Chinese or Indian food instead

30 Oct 09

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Hope I don’t die in a ridiculous way, like being hit by a light pole. On the other hand, then maybe I’ll finally get noticed for something.

29 Oct 09

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“The one beer to have when you’re having more than one?” At least that’s honest. You don’t care about the taste, you just wanna get bombed.

29 Oct 09

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Imagine a world where nobody ever complained about anything. Would you like to live in it?

28 Oct 09

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It’s going to be a cabaret kind of Halloween. I can feel it.

27 Oct 09

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Apparently, someone left the cake out in the rain. I told them to bring it inside, but no one ever listens to me…and this is what you get.

26 Oct 09

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“Life is either the storm or the calm before the storm. And then sometimes you go out for lunch.” — Lao-tzu (OK, me)

25 Oct 09

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Wondering if there is any country on earth where the inhabitants aren’t constantly obsessed with stupid trivia and gossip.

17 Oct 09

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What’s sillier, being in preschool or postgraduate school?

16 Oct 09

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The team wearing the uniform with MY city’s name on it is better than the team wearing the uniform with YOUR city’s name on it! Nyaaaaah!

11 Oct 09

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Went down the stoney end; though I never wanted to go, it was part of the guided tour.

7 Oct 09

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Would like to ride at least once in my life in a plane with stairs you could climb to a piano bar and have a cocktail there.

7 Oct 09

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Why do we never speak ill of the dead, and never say anything good about the living?

6 Oct 09

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Why are dogfighting and cockfighting considered revolting in the US, but hunting and killing animals with rifles is a great tradition?

6 Oct 09

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After 7+ years of living in Austin, why do I still feel like just another stupid tourist whenever I walk into the Continental Club?

2 Oct 09

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“Get me to the world on time”? Really, what’s the rush?

2 Oct 09

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In the afterlife, will there be restaurants?

2 Oct 09

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Parting is such Vic Morrow.

29 Sep 09

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Wondering whether things were better or worse in the days when bands had managers and writers had publishers…

19 Sep 09

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Dancin’ down the Soul Train line. Or not.

19 Sep 09

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Number One son prefers reality-based Animals on the Farm stories to fantasy Animals on the Farm stories. Oh-kay.

11 Sep 09

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I really, really don’t care about football.

11 Sep 09

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is hacking the spew.

10 Sep 09

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is off to Holland and Germany to commune with the spirits of the ancestors along with some actual relatives & friends. See ya in Sept.

23 Aug 09

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has yet to see the point of this whole silly Twitter thing.

15 Aug 09

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Something we didn’t have when I was a kid: Viral videos about wedding dances.

7 Aug 09

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If you can market tuna fish as “chicken of the sea,” why isn’t there a brand of chicken called Fish of the Land?

5 Aug 09

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Watching videos tonight that Donna and I filmed in Slovenia and Italy in 2002. Forgot how much I loved those old buildings, and the rain.

2 Aug 09

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Me and the wife both enjoying Wii Fit, Wii Music and various other Wii-related endeavors. Nice bday present from the fam and friends.

27 Jul 09

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is working, Jack.

21 Jul 09

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Last nite @ restaurant I’ve wanted to go to for 5 yrs; my wife dreaded it, but I was the one who ended up barfing in the bathroom. Ironic.

15 Jul 09

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Don’t tell me what to think, you columnists.

15 Jul 09

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My four-year-old son asked his mom, “Do our hearts have friends?”

13 Jul 09

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Leftover birthday cake makes a fine breakfast treat.

12 Jul 09

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Holy birthday piñatas, Batman!

10 Jul 09

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There are just too many reunions and birthdays to contend with these days.

8 Jul 09

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I wouldn’t go to Michael Jackson’s memorial service unless you paid me $100,000 and let me leave early.

6 Jul 09

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Has anyone here seen my datebook? I know I left it around here somewhere.

6 Jul 09

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I have too many usernames.

10 Jun 09

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Unsolicited, non-street-team testimonial: Starbucks caramel macchiato ice cream with Starbucks coffee liqueur. Yum.

27 May 09

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GM’s biggest problem? Chevrolet was too cavalier.

27 May 09

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I walked, and then jogged a bit, with a zombie last night. Then we stopped and got some burgers.

18 May 09

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Who’ll stop the rain?

29 Apr 09

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If Jews get swine flu, can they cure it with chicken soup?

26 Apr 09

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Being cautiously optimistic.

17 Apr 09

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Occasionally, I’m insufficiently reverent. And you?

7 Apr 09

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I’m skeptical of the conceit that everyone was apparently a celebrity in a previous life.

7 Apr 09

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Getting nostalgic for the old paradigm like Grandpa used to shift. Maybe it’s the Opening Day thing.

6 Apr 09

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You can tell a go-go dancer’s been on the job too long when all she dances is the Perfunctory Chicken.

6 Apr 09

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Watching golf ball size hail fall on my house and yard.

25 Mar 09

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Testing out new modalities in the paradigm.

24 Mar 09

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I’m busy working on a new moisturizing conditioner for professional entertainers, to be called Humectress on the Stage.

13 Mar 09

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The most annoying thing about cliches? They’re usually true. (Thought of that when I was about 12, was proud of myself.)

3 Mar 09

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Burrowing away on deadline.

2 Mar 09

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Burning a CD for my almost four-year-old.

14 Jan 09