Screw stuff white people like. This is stuff I like:
1. With Amazon Crossing, the well-funded online bookstore is taking an active role in publishing international authors across boundaries. Good move, Amazon. Speaking of international authors, a fifth Words Without Borders anthology, Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East, is coming out. Way to be productive, WWB!
2. Something else we like: Ghostbusters invade the main branch of the New York Public Library to protest library budget cuts. What’s really interesting about this latest effort by Improv Everywhere is that the apparently desperate New York Public Library actually allowed it to take place (though they don’t seem to have warned the people in the library). Nice! We’ve gone way beyond “ssssssh!” by now.
5. These books were neglected in 1934, according to an article published that year in the New Republic. You know what? I checked the list, and they’re all still neglected today. How bleak.
6. J. Robert Lennon is giving away his latest book of essays, oddly named Video Game Hints, Tricks and Cheats for free download.
7. A John Updike conference will take place in October at Alvernia University in Pennsylvania.
8. The biggest question of all time: why does anything exist? This article teases at a possible answer, but barely delivers. Any philosophical child or adult knows how this game is played. “How can anything exist?” “Well, the New York Times says it’s because of the unbalanced behavior of B-meson particles.” “How can B-meson particles exist?”
9. I mentioned in an early chapter of my memoir that, for me, Usenet was where the Internet began. It was invented at Duke University in 1979, and their connection to Usenet has been running on the same server since then. After 31 years, Duke is powering the box down. That server did good work and I hope it will find a home at the Smithsonian or some other worthy museum. Interestingly, though, the last line of this article indicates a misunderstanding:
Duke users can still access Usenet archives – the largest collection of posted online messages – through Google Groups.
They’ll also be able to access Usenet through Usenet. Duke is not shutting down the network (which remains gigantic around the world, and is a peer-to-peer system, so that no single party can shut it down). They are just turning off the original server.
12. A Brief, Incomplete and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages. (Lots of inside jokes for techies to laugh at, like “It is a syntax error to write FORTRAN while not wearing a blue tie.”)
14. Just because they advertise on Litkicks doesn’t mean I can’t say it looks cool: an off-Broadway musical based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise (this is the debut novel, incidentally, that made Fitzgerald a star).
15. How the King James Bible has influenced American literature.
16. From a Baha’i website: Forging alternatives to a culture of consumerism.
18. Didn’t Terry Gilliam give up on his Don Quixote movie already? I guess not. Quixotic.
19. Need a new attitude about writing? Check out the Proprioceptive Writing Center’s retreat in Bar Harbor, Maine, run by two good people I know named Linda Trichter Metcalf and Tobin Simon.