Friday, October 28, 2005

I'm looking into starting a new online literary magazine to be called Second Look - I'm researching the design and technical aspects now.

I'd like to publish serious critical pieces on classic works of fiction and nonfiction. Many excellent magazines offer in-depth reviews of recent publications, but it's more rare to find critical reviews of older literature (classics, medieval and renaissance, enlightenment and romantic, and so on) outside of academic journals. I have in mind the somewhat arbitrary and nonetheless flexible cut-off date of 1900.

Of course, I'd be working with a graphic/web designer (my own rather bare bones site is a testament to my lack of graphic design skills) while I handle the editorial duties.

Anyway, just a new idea I'm excited about - more to come.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


You'd think a person who rails so consistently against the sentimental and the banal wouldn't put so many pictures of dogs on her website. But you'd be wrong. Here is Cromwell in his Halloween "Flashdance" costume.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Crusades

The new fall online edition of Rain Taxi is here, including my article on the First and Fourth Crusades.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Most Average American

Generally, I listen to the commentators and guests on National Public Radio with some interest, then quickly turn off the radio before the call-in segments begin. It amazes me that anyone would care to hear the ill-educated stammering of some random individual whose only claim to punditry is having ready access to a telephone. However, I wasn't quite quick enough on the draw today, and therefore enjoyed the following exchange, during a piece on one statistician's search for the "most average American"* --

Caller (belligerently): Since the majority of people in America are women, I'd like to know why the most average person is a man.
[The guest gives a quite reasonable answer.]
Host: So, you see, perhaps there will be a most average woman, too - (joking) you're still in the running.
Caller: I'm not in the running, I am well above average!

This is a woman who just gave her name and city out on the public airwaves. It boggles the mind.

*I know, I know - the very idea of a show on the "most average American" is precisely the sort of middlebrow pandering for which NPR is justly criticized, but hey - I'm in the car a lot.


Friday, October 21, 2005

a shameless plug, but for a good cause

I wanted to let Bay Area residents know about two upcoming events in the area, both with Intersection for the Arts.

Intersection runs the Independent Press Spotlight reading series where you can hear readings from work being published by small, local presses. Intersection's resident theater group Campo Santo also does readings of work from the back list, etc..

Tuesday November 1, 7:30 pm
Parthenon West Review & Five Fingers Review

Tuesday December 6, 7:30 pm
Eleven Eleven & TWO LINES: A Journal of Translation

Both events are at Intersection, located at 446 Valencia in San Francisco.

Friday, October 14, 2005

I might add that I spent this evening using Dogster and Catster. And I won't apologize to anyone.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I just spent $20 on Jewish dog toys

The fish says "Oy vey" when you squeeze it. There was also a stuffed dreidel that played "Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel" - but then I would have spent $30 on dog toys.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Public Art

Incidentally, I just recently noticed the sculptural nightmares that now lurk under the overpass (under the overpass) in Emeryville. They are a group of two-dimensional metal figures representing a diverse assortment of Emeryvillians, young and old. Leering, wretched, skeletal, they cast shadows against the concrete walls like the stuff of your most terrible dreams. And naturally they are placed on either side of a stop light, allowing you to pass terrible minutes alone with these damned wraiths.

I think the problem stems from the belief that any art is better than no art. This is simply not so. I'd rather watch an action painting of graffiti and splattered blood zip past my car window than some community college student's final project.

(I might add that contemporary urban murals are a particular blight on the landscape: crayola-bright colors applied with a hand that attempts to convey bland messages of social enlightenment and political earnestness with the technical skill of a fat-fisted toddler and the conceptual subtlety of a Jefferson Airplane song.)


I made some changes to today. Nothing major, but hopefully it's now a little cleaner and easier to read. I'd like to do a major renovation at some point in the future.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Still struggling with writing questions (now history instead of art), so I'm falling behind on my regular writing assignments and posts.

But I did find this interesting website and I bought some pixels: Nickels for Katrina. Seems like a good way to help out, and it will be fun to track the site traffic and see if it really drives any new hits.