Worst novel ever

My friend and fellow Virginia alum Tim Fox (who, for the love of God, needs to start his own weblog), emailed a link to the “harshest author interview ever”, of possibly the worst novel ever published:

I am on the phone with Robert Burrows, author of the recently published political novel Great American Parade. This book has sold only 400 copies nationwide, and Burrows seems flabbergasted to be hearing from me. The most prestigious newspaper to have shown any interest so far is the Daily Student at Indiana University.

I tell Burrows that if he is willing to submit to an interview, I am willing to review his book at length in The Washington Post. The only catch, I said, is that I am going to say that it is, in my professional judgment, the worst novel ever published in the English language.


“My review will reach 2 million people,” I said.

“Okay,” he said.

Update: Metafilter already caught it. Hysterical commentary, though not as funny as the original review.

Music this weekend

Two quick updates:

  1. Tara reminded me that Folk Implosion are playing the Crocodile on Sunday night. Go forth and lo-fi. I’d go but I have a feeling I’ll be too tired from:
  2. The Cascadian Chorale’s War and Peace concert, at St. Thomas Episcopal in Medina. Tickets here or at the door. Program will include classical and contemporary reflections on war, including:

Go forth and enjoy.

Creative Commons and Blogging

As I always suspected, blogs look like they will provide a wealth of fodder for grad studies—mostly, in my opinion, because we talk so much about ourselves and our processes. My decision to license my blog under Creative Commons appears to have set in motion a paper proposal in a grad intellectual property class. I’ve let CyborgWoman know she can ping me for material as she needs it. I wonder who else is out there doing this other than Greg and Doc.

Watching Buffy

Confession: I’ve been diving into Buffy this week, particularly the second season. Hey, it was on sale at Costco. And while I’m saddened by the revelation that Ms. Gellar will be leaving the show, it’s still a tremendous body of work.

Talking with Greg the other night, he confessed to never having been much of a fan—never having watched it at all, in fact. I would suggest that it has to be taken in the right spirit—as a potent allegory of the struggle to grow up, to gain power over one’s fears, to face one’s demons. And once you can watch it on that level and still appreciate the camp and the humor, you’ll be hooked.

The Tin Man has been watching it much more closely, and he’s annotated most of season 7. He’s been looking at some of the other big themes: redemption, sexuality, power and powerlessness. And of course kicking ass.

Other Buffy fans out there: Julie Powell, who appears to be more than ready for the series to end in spite of being hooked on it. And Esta, who has the right perspective.

Tony: “this guy gets to build the tallest building in the world”

Brilliant post, brilliant series of questions. I think it deserves an answer:

  • I work to understand who the visitors are of one of the biggest websites in the world. Besides this one.
  • I’m rediscovering them every day.
  • Every day. And that’s girl singular.
  • The first two months of this year have been a hell of a lot better than the last five months of last year.
  • Learning who I am.
  • Not whole CDs, but there’s some great MP3s at KEXP if you pledge.
  • When I remember to have hope.
  • Q: How many tenors does it take to change a light bulb? A: Four; one to do it and three to stand around and bitch that they could have done it just as well if they had the high notes.
  • I’m not sure but I think that’s a personal question.
  • No, but I’ve got a close eye on some folks who are trying to destroy our American way of life.
  • You tell me. I’ve at least started talking.
  • Not nearly often enough.
  • Not nearly often enough.
  • Not nearly often enough.
  • Yes. And yes.
  • As big as a move, as small as a post.
  • Not nearly often enough.
  • Yes. Downhill on and off my feet.
  • Not nearly…oh, stop it. Yes, at Trogdor.
  • Not yet, but we have crocuses.
  • At Christmas time. I’m off pie.
  • Not so much.
  • Not physically.
  • We covered that.
  • Not on the blog.
  • I think it was the cheese that did me in, actually.
  • When Lisa gets back in town.
  • Every day.

UVA: StudCo candidate assaulted because of race

Race relations at Virginia have been complicated since the beginning; after all, the school’s founder wrote the Declaration of Independence but kept slaves.

But the execrable actions of the as-yet-unidentified assailant who, in the words of the Cavalier Daily report, “allegedly grabbed Lundy by the hair and slammed her head against the steering wheel… [and] said, ‘no one wants a nigger to be president’” aren’t complicated. They’re stupid, hateful, and unworthy of the school I called home. (They’re also ignorant; I seem to remember a few black student council presidents at Virginia while I was there, and they were popularly elected.)

Esta has some strong words on this and is following the unfolding reactions; apparently Casteen has issued a statement but it’s not on his web site yet.

Update: Esta forwarded the letters that went out from the offices of the President and Vice President for student affairs. Pending online availability on the Virginia site, I’ve posted the letters here.

Librarian.net: legal civil disobedience, with RSS

Over at Librarian.net, a set of perfectly legal signs that confirm to the letter of the PATRIOT Act: they don’t tell you whether the FBI has been there investigating your reading habits, but they make it perfectly clear that it’s a real possibility that they have been. Example: “Q: How can you tell when the FBI has been in your library? A: You can’t. (The PATRIOT Act makes it illegal for us to tell you if our computers are monitored; be aware!)

Oh, and Jessamyn: your RSS feed works just fine in NetNewsWire, your concerns to the contrary.

QTN™: Not all barleywines are gold

Tonight’s tasting experiment is LaConner Brewing Company’s Olde Curmudgeon Barleywine Style Ale. I’ve been waiting about a week to try this one, but I think my wait was in vain. This is a truly disappointing barleywine.

Pour: flat, no head. Taste: heavy, syrupy, sickly sweet, with a slightly chalky aftertaste. Smells of yeast, and not in a good way. It’s possible the bottle is old or was stored improperly, I suppose, but I don’t think so. It’s just unbalanced—needs way stronger hop to compensate for the sweetness and alcohol—and not very pleasant to taste. Down the drain.

Looking at the last eight months

Last night I was talking with a friend about my progress since getting out of business school. I went from naïvely feeling on top of the world to feeling that I was lower than dog crap and worthless. Now I’ve climbed part way back. As my friend pointed out, I am now at least to the point where I acknowledge that I have feelings and can talk about them, which hasn’t always been true.

Dave and I had an off-blog dialogue a while back about male grief and male emotion. I was partly right then:

It’s a reinforcing loop. As men stay silent, the culture becomes accustomed to men not expressing their feelings. Eventually, expressing feelings becomes an exception, exceptions aren’t tolerated, and the cost of not expressing feelings becomes over time too high to bear.

But I missed one point. As time goes further by, it becomes easy to forget that you have emotions. Which is a mistake. Emotions can’t be destroyed; they just get expressed in other ways, like inexplicably lashing out at friends or convincing oneself of one’s essential worthlessness.

I’ve been fighting a Black Dog since getting to Seattle, if not before. Now at least I have lifted the crushing cycle of self doubt and understand a little of what caused it. The only question about my newly rediscovered emotions is what to do about them?

Broadening my horizons

Just got back from Jish’s very informal blogger gathering (don’t call it a meetup!) at Fadó in Seattle. In addition to meeting Jish, who’s quite a nice guy, and renewing F2F acquaintance with Anita and Jerry Kindall, I met a whole passel of new-to-me bloggers, including Jessamyn West from librarian.net and poetsagainstthewar.org. And Dan Engler from Foreword.com, also known as one of the 2/17 Diesel Sweeties guest artists. Lots of good conversations.

Update, 2/26: Anita has a better summary including links to some people whose blogs I couldn’t remember last night in my brain dead exhausted state: Dan Sanderson, Jacob fron 8BitJoystick, Tara, and others.

Ugh. More font size crap

I should just leave well enough alone. IE 5 and 6 won’t allow me to resize the font even with its size specified in pixels. Also, more seriously, Gentium looks like crap when it’s bolded, since the designer hasn’t provided a true bold. Buh-bye.