Parque Gulliver

1. A Gulliver playground in Valencia, Spain.

2. Beat poet Andy Clausen on YouTube.

3. Amazingly, the Velvet Underground will be reuniting at the New York Public Library, though I’m not clear if this will be a talk, a musical performance or both. It’s sad that late sweet-toned lead guitarist Sterling Morrison will be missing, but it’s a nice surprise to see the reemergence of Doug Yule, who is widely disliked for replacing the great John Cale on bass after Reed kicked Cale out, but who helped them record their best album.

4. Jerome’s Niece, a Buddhist poetry blog.

5. Onetime Heeb writer Jason Diamond offers a “Kaddish for Jewish Zines”.

6. In the end, after a sluggish start, Electric Literature’s much-discussed experiment with Twitter fiction turned up an excellent Rick Moody story about relationship anxiety, thwarted love and people who cling to their phones on dates. An excellent Rick Moody story, that is, but not necessarily an excellent Twitter story. Moody focused on the 140 character limit, but I think Twitter’s most distinguishing feature is not its character count but its pacing and easy interpersonal immediacy (note: you can follow me on Twitter here). It became clear why Moody missed this when he revealed in an interview that he’d taken on this project because Electric Literature had asked him to, not because he had any actual interest in Twitter. There are many writers who do get Twitter — say, Colson Whitehead, who is marvelous at it — and I hope Electric Lit will turn to one of these writers for their next foray. Overall: great publicity, moving story, well done all around.

7. There will not be a Literary Kicks Best Books of 2009 list. Please excuse my grumpiness, but I mostly find these aggregate lists annoying and unremarkable. I do like to read personal lists of lifelong favorites by smart readers, but I don’t care for annual lists or lists put together by groups.

8. Henry Rollins visits Bhopal, site of a chemical plant disaster 25 years ago.

9. For database techies, here’s NoSQL. Elsewhere, here’s just plain No.

10. I don’t agree with this. I’m amazed at how good “The Office” manages to be, season after season. Sure, there are ups and downs, but this is one of those rare shows — like “Twin Peaks”, like “The Honeymooners” — that represents television’s ascent to the realm of literature. I will watch it until Jim and Pam drop dead.

2 Responses

  1. “The Office” depressing?
    “The Office” depressing? Maybe if you have no stomach for reality or you gravitate to television as if it’s some safe blanket that doesn’t come close to the truth. But I found “Stockholder Meeting” to include some very sharp (and very funny) satire about administrative efficiency in the recession — complete with Michael Scott parroting Obama’s “You can take it to the bank.” Jim’s deterioration into an ineffectual co-manager is precisely what one would expect of his character, and precisely what one would expect of many middle management types in his position. He has been set up over the past few seasons as a Michael Scott in training. And the tension here, juxtaposed against the recession, has permitted “The Office” to return — after a bit of a slump — to some accessibly scathing satire. Meghan Keane would prefer Hollywood platitudes and cliches rather than television shows which reflect our present clusterfuck. If you cannot accept flawed characters in comedy, then you have no business appreciating its treasures. Meghan Keane deserves…well, an office job.

  2. The Velvet Underground….
    The Velvet Underground…. Why do people hate Doug Yule ?? Because he replaced John Cale? Indeed the ‘Squeeze’ album is different to the other VU albums and remains probably the most accessible. Where has Doug been all these years???

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