Friday, July 18, 2003

i would like to state publically that i'm completely against "benefits" to raise money to send people to Burning Man, or any other commercial venue for that matter. isn't this like holding a benefit to send yourself on vacation? I'm also against benefits to fund ventures that people plan to be profit-making. for example, why should i pay to go to benefit for your magazine--a magazine for which i wrote an article, gave you three ideas that you turned into articles, and that you plan to sell at a rate in which to make a profit? are you going to give me my money back later?
there are some people holding benefits tonite to fund ventures with which they intend to make profits. i think that's skeezy.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

The NY Times B Team
as long as we're here... i'm going to start keeping track of the NY Times B Team. The B Team first came to my notice after the recent Jayson Blair scandal. Immediately after Blair was fired the staff of the NY Times was all jittery and on edge. I noted the level of reporting in the NY Times had dropped even below what it had been. I read somewhere that this was because the B Team had taken over. The implication was that the B Team, the less experienced reporters and journalists, were flooding the paper with non-stories. My favorite most recent example was a story about how tourists love squirrels.

Today, this story was on the front page of the NY Times print version:
Talking to Me? No, the Cabby's on His Cell
yes, a story about cabbies talking on cell phones. front page. Thank you B Team.

I have no problem with a cab driver using a cell phone, as long as he's using a hands-free adapter. what i do have a problem with, NY Times B Team, besides your small-town penny-saver reporting, is NYC Police using cell phones for personal calls while on duty. Just the other day I almost got hit by a police car on 47th street and 6th ave. The cop driving was talking on a cell phone--a regular, hand-held cell phone. last time i checked, that's illegal in New York.
Nic Kelman, Girls (Little, Brown, advanced reading copy)
A powerful middle-aged man pursues increasingly younger women. the loving descriptions of limbs and breasts and shiny hair are interspersed with passages from Homer and some psuedo-science. The fact that the dude is from the graduate program at Brown is obvious from the post-mod touches (breaking the narrative to address the reader, the constant confusion between first and second person, which is not at all effective in this case)... but an award-winner? I checked the Brown website, and while there is indeed a James Assatly (not Assataly as it says on the back cover ad), i can find no criteria for said award, nor do I find Kelman listed as a Brown Alumnus. I ain't calling to chieck, tho. It wouldn't surprise me that a bunch of horny old men gave an award to a book about a horny old man. and basically that's all this is. It's very racy for mainstream fiction, but really tame as porn. Turns out dick lit is as dull as chick lit!
recent books completed:
Jo Anne Beard, The Boys of My Youth (Back Bay Books, 1998) Memoir as short story. Well-written, wistful, sad and funny.
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49. This is a re-read. Last time i read it i was in high school! it not only stands up, it gets better. References i didn't get when I was 17 are now hysterically funny to me. I wonder what it was about this book that entranced me so when I was 17?