on saturdays we putter with things we should have discovered long ago. example (via languagehat), snippets of conversation between several of murakami's translators-slash-biggest-fans (excluding daniel handler and the notably fantastic alfred birnbaum, that is). key points:

- jay rubin translated the short story "kangaroo communique" for zyzzyva in the fall of '88 - probably the first time murakami appeared in english? i should give cranky editor howard junker et al. more credit.

- all god's children can dance, a collection of pieces on the kobe earthquake (vaguely akin to underground, on the tokyo sarin attacks?) has been available in english since last year, back when i had money to spend on hardcovers. fah.

there was a lovely comment about how the japanese language is processed in the elbow, but i'm not nearly diligent enough to find it at the moment. it's only midafternoon, you see.

Having anchored Galaxie 500 in the late Eighties before founding Luna, [Dean] Wareham is a bit of an indie intellectual. [Britta] Phillips, meanwhile, joined Luna on bass a few years ago after fronting several bands, performing as the voice of Jem on the Saturday morning cartoon "Jem and the Holograms," and appearing as a drugged-out guitarist in the forgettable flick "Satisfaction."

(women's wear daily, june 24, 2003)

many thanks to paul for resuscitating kidchamp. i was having near-digital-death visions of ancient, awful weekly world news posts.

my old fiction on demand request finally bore fruit; thanks also to aaron, then, for writing me a story even though he'd already worked with carapace. i had shellfish on the brain at the time, as pru and frock the thai devil crabs were new to our household.

the weather has finally turned, and we're told to expect a ninety degree afternoon tomorrow. my office attracts people who wear lots of deodorant and prepare decently fresh food, so i'm happy to weather the heat down here. as for inwood, where bags of cat turds tend to expand and explode - we won't talk about inwood.

sleep before substance.


Paul here, trying to fix the site. Pardon our mess.

old, not stale: found verse in the new york times.
When Ari Fleischer leaves his job as President Bush's press secretary this summer, what will we remember about his tenure? His ability to stay on message? His calm demeanor? Or his poetry? In his nearly three years at the White House, Mr. Fleischer has produced volumes of verse, much of it in collaboration with Helen Thomas, the United Press International correspondent. (All language taken from White House transcripts.)

Helen, bonjour; I like your chapeau. (Jan. 8, 2003)

I'm happy to take your questions, Helen. (April 14, 2003)

Always interested in your opinion, Helen. (Nov. 27, 2001)

I'm not sure what you're driving at, Helen. (Jan. 16, 2002)

You're mixing up two stories, Helen. (Dec. 14, 2001)

It's a wily paraphrase, Helen, wily. (Jan. 23, 2003)

Keep going, Helen. (Oct. 9, 2002)

Let events take their course, Helen. (Jan. 23, 2003)

Go stand in the corner, Helen. (Feb. 26, 2003)

I'm sorry, Helen? (Dec. 20, 2002)

Helen? We're back to Helen? (July 3, 2002)

Helen, I dispute the premise of your question. (March 5, 2003)

Helen, I do not accept the description of the premise of your question, and the manner in which you asked it. (April 1, 2002)

Helen, without accepting the premise of the way that question is phrased, let me tell you what the president thinks. (March 25, 2002)

Helen, the president's position is well known on this. (Dec. 20, 2002)

Helen, again, the president has made his point clear. (April 12, 2002)

Helen, you don't have the floor. (July 10, 2002)

Helen, your views on this are well known. (Oct. 9, ,2002)

Helen, we all know you have opinions. (May 17, 2002)

Helen, with your support, the answer will be yes. (June 20, 2001)

Helen, I've addressed the question. (Sept. 28, 2001)

Helen, Helen. (May 14, 2002)

Helen? Helen? (July 3,2002)

Helen. (May 29, 2003)

Hart Seely is editor of "Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld."


THE SECOND QUESTIONER (cf 06.11.03)an upscale boutique near times square

1: where are you from?

2: san francisco!

1: i knew right when i saw you that you were not from new york. what a beautiful personality!

i was wearing ratty beach sandals and sporting a wicked sunburn, so no, i did not blend.

the california adventure ended at 0900 EST today. it began and ended well, and a couple of pleasant things happened in the middle - like sister emily graduating from stanford - but most of the trip was, sadly, a simmmering crock of shit. i won't bore or betray anyone with lurid detail; i'll say that my siblings are two of the most and only trustworthy people in my life. our gang of three is the only viable family member combo lately, which is wonderful-awful.

stanford was sunny, earnest, predictable. i developed a brief and searing crush on em's departmental commencement speaker, a comp lit professor who wore mardi gras beads and quoted clytemnestra in greek. so very many reasons to be a grad student.


i cheated most energetically on the sam beckett bio, but it's deirdre bair's and The Corporation's fault - i've been managing twenty minutes of reading before melting into bed each night, and it's just plain unsatisfying to take SB's life down a week at a time. he's sedentary, she's occasionally overzealous (still good, mind you), i'm lazy. i'll get to closing ceremonies when i'm back from california (toward which i'm hurtling).

on said cheating, possession was worth it. i'd feared it would be cheeky and self-satisfied a la the lecturer's tale or david lodge's o-so-hated nice work, but nay. like george eliot, byatt's quite handy with a number of styles'n'genres. i do appreciate those freakish writers who can cheat on prose with poetry, and vice versa.
Tonight, he began to think of words, words came from some well in him, lists of words that arranged themselves into poems, "The Death Mask," "The Fairfax Wall," "A Number of Cats." He could hear, or feel, or even almost see, the patterns made by a voice he didn't yet know, but which was his own. The poems were not careful observations, nor yet incantations, nor yet reflections on life and death, though they had elements of all these. He added another, "Cats' Cradle," as he saw he had things to say which he could say about the way shapes came and made themselves. Tomorrow he would buy a new notebook and write them down. Tonight he would write down enough, the mnemonics.
unpretentious, just nice.

on laws and sausages, i'd actually tired of magazines by the time i got to the airport. a shame - flights and collages are my only real justifications for glossies - but unavoidable: i've been waist-deep in those little fuckers for two straight weeks. newspapers, too - i'm averaging about five a day. at least papers are related to the work and aren't the work itself.

the local smoking laws, part umpteen: as of wednesday, it's illegal to sell mail order cigarettes to new york residents. weird, for a second there i thought i could make decisions for myself.


"where are you from?" says the writer. what? "you know, are you in college? no, i'm just - here. "well," says the executive editor, "where are you from?" life...? i longed for my unfrequented desk and the press release about corn.

on unusual choices, i'd have to exhaust a lot of cat costume options before i made one to look like anne of green gables.
Isn't her coquettish red hair cute? Let's give her a broom and this lady with little red hood, is likely to start cleaning up your room. The country-tone blouse are made of the same material as the hood, presenting a consistency in the appearance.

make your own tombstone.


our apartment's absent owners seem like the sort of people who would own a tent. i'm thinking they keep it in the secret closet we're not supposed to open. i'm thinking i could sneak it out and camp on the roof, where the moonlight is gentle and the air doesn't feel like soup, and i'm thinking that joe would stay inside, that the neighbors would lock me out and i'd be forced to shimmy down the fire escape again (which is, mostly, not fun at all). ideas are mostly worthless.

in the debate team years, i had a collection of labels from embassies who'd send me policy papers before conferences. today i received an mp3 of an oprah-related interview from a radio station in seattle. i think the mailings are - complementary?


as joe has heard in exhaustive detail over the last few hours, douglas is a remarkable human being; in a world of my making, individuals who could locate tofu hot dogs and half-price sandman back issues in the span of an hour would be promptly canonized.

the weekend became nice and sluggish after friday's peripheral celebrity extravaganza - long train rides, quality time with byatt's possession (so far, a hit), realizing that sleeping until ten is, empirically, a luxury. we like it when down time feels valuable.
Small things
make the past.
Make the present seem out of place.

A woman cracking and twisting.
Black atoms falling down
on green leaves.

If I am ever to go back
to what I loved first
here are words to be wished on -

(almost, you can see, an incantation).

Summon blue air
out of a corridor between
a mountain range and a sea
(this at least has never changed).

Empty out the streets.
Fit the cars easily
into their parking places.
Slow the buses down by thirty years.

Observe a brave, fiery shower
above a plate
of bacon and potatoes

(we are nearly there).

Now say dinner for lunch.
And teatime for supper.

And see how it comes again -

My little earth.

My city of white pepper.

(eavan boland, "the old city")

at the shea stadium project ALS benefit: the DJ, as if to taunt me about knowing that ferris bueller is present, plays "twist and shout". mister met, the malevolent fuzzy baseball mascot, breezes by the catering table and gooses me for the fourth time. i growl. the woman in front of me jumps and gestures apologetically with her hamburger-in-process: "it's harder than it looks!" sic semper lauren and famous people.

joe returns from the men's room. "this guy was staring at me while i picked my teeth, and i look over and it's matthew broderick."

on a higher note, katie couric clucked at me for dispensing cigarettes to the PR staff. and so.

paul's back.


on the second day she stuffed funeral announcements, read five hundred press clippings about cher, and met a man named otter. The Corporation is wily; it keeps us docile with curious errands.

the arrangement is sinister. i'm tired enough when i arrive that the reptilian part of my head is utterly satisfied with accomplishing negligible things. i perk up on the canada-bound train, read something nice for half an hour, and plan to be the artistic mistress of the universe; by the time i'm back at the apartment, i'm sleepy and fit only for stupid home-things. when the day job is utterly unrelated to what one cares about, it's frightfully easy to forget that anything is exciting. but little brain wants to be engaged all the time -

it would be nice to think that one role is enough, that i could afford to eat if i busted my ass in the field i love. i've accepted the fact that i need to wear another hat, but i seem to have assumed that i'd be more flexible about it. no, apparently i need two perfect jobs.



day one of the internship (shouted into a cell phone in a large lobby): YEAH, H-----, I HAVE THIS YOUNG GIRL DOWN HERE LOOKIN' FOR YOU. SAYS SHE WANTS A JOB.

i was upset about my hourly rate, but it would be awfully awkward to accept large amounts of money for xeroxing old magazines all day. it's nice, at least, to know that The Corporation would rather watch me staple than gnaw at my still-beating heart. literally, anyway.

the creatures in (this one guy's) head (my favorites).


on this day in 1964, groucho marx broke bread with t.s. eliot.
...At any rate, your correspondent arrived at the Eliots' fully prepared for a literary evening. During the week I had read "Murder in the Cathedral" twice, "The Waste Land" three times, and just in case of a conversational bottleneck, I brushed up on "King Lear."

Well, sir, as the cocktails were served, there was a momentary lull - the kind that is more or less inevitable when strangers meet for the first time. So, apropos of practically nothing (and not with a bang but a whimper) I tossed in a quotation from "The Waste Land." That, I thought, will show him I've read a thing or two besides my press notices from Vaudeville.

Eliot smiled faintly -- as though to say he was thoroughly familiar with his poems and didn't need me to recite them. So I took a whack at "King Lear"...

That too failed to bowl over the poet. He seemed more interested in discussing "Animal Crackers" and "A Night at the Opera." He quoted a joke - one of mine - that I had long since forgotten. Now it was my turn to smile faintly...

We didn't stay late, for we both felt that he wasn't up to a long evening of conversation - especially mine.

Did I tell you we called him Tom? - possibly because that's his name. I, of course, asked him to call me Tom too, but only because I loathe the name Julius.

Tom Marx

a grossly belated time article informed me that june carter cash passed away. my country music scholarship isn't far enough along that i can say much about the carter family dynasty, but she was one hell of a collaborator with her husband. their relationship had a spooky where the red fern grows quality - given that and the way he's been looking in publicity for his latest album, i fear he's not long for this world. one can't really picture him playing backgammon with bob hope for the next twenty years, but - johnny cash, please don't die!

the new york times doesn't seem especially enthused about howard dean.
...Dean manages to cast himself, like John McCain. as the candidate of "straight talk," when in fact his straight talk seems calibrated not to offend.

This balancing act will get harder as the campaign season gets more intense. The only sure way for Dean to get beyond it is to attach his campaign to some larger agenda for the country, something that defines him more as a problem-solver than as a protester. That hasn't happened yet. Dean's campaign caught fire before he really figured out what he wanted it to be about; even on his signature issue as a doctor, universal health care, he allowed Dick Gephardt to seize the initiative by getting there first and with a bolder, albeit pricier, plan. At least so far, Dean seems more prepared to exploit people's rage than to channel their passion into something positive, and historically speaking, that is not a winning formula.
or a bit cold on the idea of protest candidates, at least. i love the fact that dean galvanizes liberals - his speech footage is awfully nice - but i do quake at the thought of a (slightly) more (but not) popular (enough) ralph nader. gore was preferable to bush; even dick gephardt would be preferable to more bush. not sure if it matters, yet, that i like dean - electability's a dirty word these days, but it's awfully important.

and there are the concealed weapons and capital-punishment-in-some-cases issues to consider - i'll think about endorsing you, howie, but i'll have to sleep on it.