Thursday, October 30, 2008

Line of the Week (#1)

"Baby, let's transverberate."
—The Hold Steady

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Band

Its Reputation Precedes It

The other day I was messing around with W., and I called him a son-of-a-gun. It's something my dad used to call me when I was around that age (5), and until this moment it had never dawned on me to wonder where that particular phrase comes from. I remember a country song that says, "My daddy was a pistol, and I'm a son-of-a-gun," but I'm pretty confident the phrase precedes that. In any case, W. adamantly denied that he was a son-of-a-gun, but then he suddenly and fluidly shifted gears. "Speaking of guns," he said, "I want to go to Texas."

Questions About Clothing

Is there anything more ridiculous than unpacking a new men's dress shirt? I mean, the various plastic and cardboard pieces, the pins, the tags attached two or three different ways on each shirt—it's a laborious process! The pins border on being a health hazard. And every brand follows the exact same procedure. Who came up with that? And why does everyone follow it so precisely? Is it really the only way to satisfactorily package a dress shirt?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Double Dipping

This is a kind of cheating—stealing from my own Facebook page to get material for my blog—but I've been so darn busy lately, I haven't had the time to post much (or even think much for that matter). I would like to have a few new things on here every now and then for those of you who are checking in.

My Top Facebook Updates of 2008 (so far):

• Corvus took his foot off the gas for a moment this morning (metaphorically), and it felt so good (literally)!
• Corvus's calf might be his Achilles heel.
• Corvus is the kind of guy who gives weekends a bad name.
• Corvus needs to get a clue, but hasn't a clue where to find one.
• Corvus has been mowing his brown lawn, so he doesn't cause a precipitous drop in property values in his otherwise lovely neighborhood.

Xylem & Phloem

Yesterday I woke up at 4 am with the words xylem and phloem bouncing around in my mind. The bio class I barely learned these terms in was 26 years ago, and while xylem shows up now and then in crosswords, I don't know that I've ever had cause to read, write, say, or hear phloem in over a quarter century.

This is the third time in 2008 my sleeping brain has brought facts to the surface that my conscious mind probably couldn't conjure if it tried. I kind of want to set my alarm clock for a different time every night, and see what else I can learn from myself. I'm also kind of scared. What else do I know that I've forgotten during the daylight hours?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gainly & Chalant

Shouldn't gainly and chalant be words? How can you be ungainly if you can't be gainly? How can you be nonchalant if you can't be chalant? I mean, it's common enough to find things that are innocuous, but other things can be nocuous. We've all heard of the placebo effect, but there is also a nocebo effect as well. I'm not sure we should allow words that seem to exist only in contrast to something else if we don't have the something else by which we define their opposition.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Two Reasons Why Sasha Frere-Jones may be the Second Best Music Writer at The New Yorker

"When we played our version of funk or dub reggae, or tried to make a synthesizer sound like a dolphin fixing a tractor (tough but doable), it felt natural."

And, regarding Grizzly Bear (a band he likes):

"The band's sound suggests a group of eunuchs singing next to a music box on a sunken galleon."

—from The New Yorker, Oct. 22, 2007

In His Review of Mark Strand's New Selected Poems, Dan Chiasson Explains, in Part, Why There Are Sometimes Lengthy Gaps Between Entries on this Site

"Waiting for inspiration to strike can feel, Strand says, like trying to create a cat from a bowl of milk or a thief from an open wallet."

—from The New Yorker, Nov. 19, 2007