Monthly Archives: February 2008

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Salman Rushdie in The New Yorker

I love Salman Rushdie’s short story, “The Shelter of the World,” featured in this week’s New Yorker.

Travel was pointless. It removed you from the place in which you had a meaning, and to which you gave meaning in return by dedicating your life to it, and spirited you away into fairylands where you were, and looked, frankly absurd.

Evidence that we are running out of cool band names

The alternative title for this blog post is, of course, “Warped Tour Lineup 2008.”

3OH!3 whole tour
A Day to Remember jun 20 – jul 20
Against Me! whole tour
Aggrolites whole tour
Alesana whole tour
All That Remains jul 22 – aug 17
All Time Low jul 22 – aug 17
Anberlin jun 21 – aug 17
Angels and Airwaves whole tour
As I Lay Dying jun 20 – jul 18
August Burns Red jun 20 – july 6
Read More →

Three glorious pages of leaked Diablo Cody screenplay

I’m pretty sure it’s an overdone fake, but man is that former stripper clever, sassy, and knowledgeable about music.

Leaked Diablo Cody screenplay from

Dubai is like a spoiled rich girl whose 16th birthday is coming up


Underwater hotels, artificial islands, amusement parks twice the size of Disney World, the world’s tallest buildings, indoor ski resorts, and a mall with “9,000 square feet of shopping.” Is this really what we’re doing with all our money? Is this really wise? Aren’t we earthlings just getting closer to becoming an alien super civilization? These pictures are going to give me nightmares. But the TutzTutz post was still worth reading because of the user comment “These people play Sim City WAY too much!!!”



Dubai in 1990



Dubai in 2007

Celebrity flashback

Does anyone else remember the historic day last August when Perez Hilton announced he was 100% sure Fidel Castro was dead? I am thinking about adapting his blog post into a feature-length film, like War of the Worlds (based on a book radio hoax) or Pirates of the Caribbean (based on a theme park ride). Perez will play himself, and at the end of the movie Martians will land and force him and Castro to make out with each other on the short gangplank of a pirate ship.

Perez Hilton is an idiot

Hallmarks of good gym etiquette

I recently joined a gym, and boy would I be looking good if working out didn’t make me so hungry for Mexican food. And it’s not just any gym – it’s the most state-of-the-art, LA/Manhattan/Madonna-worthy gym in Virginia. I get a discounted membership because of my mob connections. Also, my sweat doesn’t stink.

I have been loving the gym, but here are some tips to make my personal fitness experience even more enjoyable.

1) If you can get away with wearing only short shorts and a sports bra when you work out, please mount the machine in front of mine. This will inspire me to work harder so I can have your body.

2) I feel a lot of goodwill between strangers at the gym. The natural amiability seems totally asexual, which is understandable because everyone looks so gross. But boundaries can still be crossed. If a girl is doing a stretch that involves bending over or spreading her legs, it’s not appropriate to talk to her. Whatever you have to say, she is going to feel self conscious about you looking down her jog bra or into her perspiring crotch area. Wait and talk to her when she is performing a less provocative stretch, like the neck stretch:

Neck stretch

3) If you like to make locker room conversation, at least make a show of getting dressed while you’re talking. For most people, it’s hard to think of smart and funny things to say when staring at a naked body. Putting on clothes should be your first priority, not making small-talk, clipping your toenails, or blow-drying your hair.

4) Be creative with your gym outfits. It always makes my day when I run into the guy who works out in jeans, bare feet, and a halfshirt.

5) Don’t leave clumps of your hair in the shower. I am actively trying to contract a foot fungus as a gym rite of passage, but I still balk at stepping on other peoples’ hair wads. Figure it out, ladies.

6) If you are way into Nia dance aerobics classes, try not to look like such a dork. Just kidding – dance is all about free expression. And you can do what you want because I won’t be taking any more of these types of classes.

7) Please spray down my machine after I use it.

8 ) Don’t throw down your iron barbells after every set. The loud noise scares me to death when I’m on the treadmill trying to watch Drumline. Last time I had my headphones on so I couldn’t hear myself cursing, but everyone else could. If you’re strong enough to lift the heavy weights, you are strong enough to set them down gently.

That is all for now. Does anyone else have advice for uncouth gym-goers?

Interesting people making love and dancing to Randy Newman

I like to read about unconventional marriages, especially if one of the principals is a writer. This couple – made up of novelist Jennifer Belle and entertainment lawyer Andrew Krents – spends more time apart than together because “familiarity breeds contempt.” For instance Belle went to Venice alone for her honeymoon because Krents couldn’t find his passport.

For a couple that craves and fights for time alone and apart, how do they stay together? One way, they said, is by pretty much ignoring their relationship in the same way a writer ignores a blank page.

“I try not to think about marriage,” Ms. Belle said. “It just seems impossible to me. It’s wondrous. It’s like trying to understand the meaning of the universe.”

Good for you, kids. Keep knocking the boots.

Zadie Smith hates your short story

This year Zadie Smith and the other judges of the Willesden Herald Short Story Competition decided not to honor any writer with the prize. They didn’t consider any submissions good enough to win. I thought that was pretty awesome, even though the whole thing reeks of a publicity stunt. The judges wanted to make a statement about not rewarding mediocrity and about upholding high literary standards. Zadie Smith writes:

Just like everybody, we at The Willesden Herald are concerned about the state of contemporary literature. We are depressed by the cookie-cutter process of contemporary publishing, the lack of truly challenging and original writing, and the small selection of pseudo-literary fictio-tainment that dominates our chain bookstores. We created this prize to support unpublished writers, and, with our five grand, we put our money where our mouths are. We have tried to advertise widely across this great internet of ours and to make the conditions of entry as democratic and open as we could manage. There is no entry fee, there are no criteria of age, race, gender or nation. The stories are handed over to the judges stripped of the names of the writers as well as any personal detail concerning them (if only The Booker worked like that!) Our sole criterion is quality. We simply wanted to see some really great stories. And we received a whole bunch of stories. We dutifully read through hundreds of them. But in the end – we have to be honest – we could not find the greatness we’d hoped for. It’s for this reason that we have decided not to give out the prize this year. . . .

. . . .For let us be honest again: it is sometimes too easy, and too tempting, to blame everything that we hate in contemporary writing on the bookstores, on the corporate publishers, on incompetent editors and corrupt PR departments – and God knows, they all have their part to play. But we also have our part to play. We also have to work out how to write better and read better. We have to really scour this internet to find the writing we love, and then we have to be able to recognize its quality. We cannot love something solely because it has been ignored. It must also be worthy of our attention.

The more I think about the Willesden Herald’s decision, the more self-important it seems. We’re not talking about the Nobel Peace Prize here. We’re not even talking about the Pulitzer or the Booker. We’re talking about a short story contest that might make some unpublished writer’s career. I mean every month the lesser literary magazines probably contend with a dearth of good writing, but they still put out an issue. Did it occur to Zadie and the judges that perhaps the better writers were submitting to the bigger, more prestigious contests? But now they have branded themselves as an exclusive club that all the most ambitious writers must try to enter.

Maybe it’s a good sign that every literary magazine doesn’t receive outstanding submissions to every writing contest. This shows that no matter how many amateur writing classes and writing programs and writing blogs proliferate in our wordy world, it still holds true that not everyone can do it well. Even though more and more people are writing books, literary greatness is still rare.

Artistic integrity is an easy banner to wave, but if you’re going to make a commercial living through publishing and prizing literature, you can’t expect every weekly/monthly/yearly crop of writers to be a great one. Sometimes the crop will just be mediocre. But there should still be a winner. When I throw a hotdog eating contest and only three people show up to compete and they’re all anorexic, I still award a prize. The winner might have only eaten half a hot dog, but the other competitors just sniffed the bun.

Finally learning to trick out the blog

I chose this for my first hosted image. I know you understand.


Pop quiz for the moms

Your baby’s hungry. Your baby’s hands are cold and chapped.

Do you

a) remove your baby from the cold and let him gum yogurt, applesauce, or chunks of banana until his hunger pangs are soothed?


b) rub Victoria’s Secret lotion into your baby’s skin and then feed him rainbow mini marshmallows from a plastic baggie?

I’m not a mom. I don’t know what’s right. I don’t judge. I just happen to hang out at the same places as hungry babies: Saturday night sporting events, hotdog stands, ice cream shops, gun ranges, and marshmallow factories.