Writer and photographer
Who's Afraid of Michiko Kakutani? (Lots of people)
The New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani has written a book review in the form of a parody of J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" that is worth reading (linked to title). I think she took some pleasure in reading Benjamin Kunkel's new novel/memoir "Indecision" about a drugged out 28-year-old New York guy who goes on some kind of lost white dude adventure down to Ecuador. I don't know, I haven't read the book, although I did read the first chapter:
Not that this guy needs my publicity. I need my own publicity, frankly. Or somebody else's, ultimately. I realize nobody is reading this blog. You have to be some form of a celebrity to get eyes on your words these days. My celebrity status is very limited to basically my dogs. To them, I am the most famous man alive. They can't wait to see me every time I return home. It's quite touching, honestly. Poor sweet creatures... if they only knew. Did I mention that I've been working on a project with a main character remarkably similar to this guy Ben Kunkel's main character (as far as I can tell from the NYT review, anyway)? So that's a bummer. Maybe I'll make the main character a woman instead...
In other news, Pat Robertson is a disgrace to my native Virginia's soil, although that's nothing new. He is backtracking now on his comments that the U.S. should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. He now claims that he didn't say "assassination" although, as the Associated Press reported, review of the tape reveals that Robertson's exact words were: ''You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war, and I don't think any oil shipments will stop.''
Lastly, I am announcing here that I am quitting coffee and switching to green tea only. You heard it here first! This will save me a ton of money because I always buy expensive lattes at Peets Coffee and Peaberry's in Oakland. I have some great green tea straight from Japan via my soon-to-be-ex-mother-in-law, so that helps, although what will I do when that runs out? Damn, not back to coffee again I hope?! Link
Hunter S. Thompson's Ashes Airborne
Well, as it will apparently say on Hunter S. Thompson's Air Force-issue tombstone, "It never got weird enough for me." Over the weekend Johnny Depp funded a ceremony for Thompson's ashes that involved heavy-duty fireworks and a tower taller than the Statue of Liberty. Only 350 people were allowed to attend, but there's a photo of it in the New York Times (linked to title above). Somehow it all makes too much sense that a movie star would pay $2 million for such a ceremony, but maybe that's because in the end Thompson was part of the literary establishment, same as other major writers like his heroes Faulkner and Hemingway. That's not a bad thing. His writing will last long after his glowing ashes fade from the sky... (which probably only took a few seconds). Link
There's a painful, but quite funny piece on Slate by Jonathan Ames right now about how he is 41 and his body is falling to pieces. I can relate to his ailments more than I'd care to admit, although I seem to be holding up slightly better so far (at age 39). One thing I have noticed with alarm is that my chest hair is turning grey, or maybe I'm growing new chest hair that is grey instead of dark brown. Except it's not even grey actually--it's white! And when you look at it super close, it looks clear really instead of white, like snippets of nylon fishing line. At any rate, this development is disturbing because it seems to indicate that winter is setting in or something. I'm no longer a "young buck" in any way. Here's a link to the Ames article:
We Jam Econo -- The Minutemen
I just watched the new Tim Irwin documentary on the early 80's punk band The Minutemen called "We Jam Econo" and wanted to encourage people to see it. The film is very straightforward and almost raw, just telling it like it was without too much fanfare. They use as much live concert footage as they can, and the rest of the film consists of "talking heads" mostly, including Henry Rollins, Flea, and the two remaining former band members--Mike Watt and George Hurley. Watt steals the show and deservedly so.
D. Boon, the lead singer and guitar player for the band, died in a van accident in late December of 1985. I saw The Minutemen perform at the Mosque in Richmond on December 5, 1985 because they opened for R.E.M. I had heard about The Minutemen prior to that show, but wasn't really very familiar with them. However, they gave a great, frenetic performance and were pretty memorable that night for their tremendous energy on stage.
What I recall being told at the time was that they were called The Minutemen because they covered other band's songs, like The Who and CCR, but played those songs in a minute or less, super fast. Having now seen the documentary, I realize they were much more than that. Mike Watt says in the film that they were a very misunderstood band at the time, and I am positive he was right. Link
Death by Video Game
According to an MSNBC report, a South Korean man recently died from heart failure brought on by playing a video game nonstop for 50 hours. The 28-year-old man had also recently quit his job so he could play video games more. To age myself, I was once obsessed with the video arcade game Galaga and spent maybe 5-6 hours in a row playing it at the beach when I could have been swimming. OK, not quite the same thing.