Exhibit 1.5.14


* If I’d never worked a job, I probably would doubt the authenticity of this guide to 90s slang from Express. But I have worked a job and, yep, someone got paid to do that. My only regret is that it wasn’t me.

* My favorite similar corporate awareness vacuum was a branding guide full of charts explaining what celebrities a bank was like (Anderson Cooper) and not like (Madonna) with detailed reasons for why. So basically the bank wanted to be an asexual silver fox in favor of more traditional bra designs instead of, you know, a bank.

* Here’s Brett:

* In the last two days on Twitter I’ve made a somewhat obscure Juliana Hatfield joke and a League of Women Voters joke. O, and one about Rizzoli and Isles. Feeling pretty proud of myself. Might just have to quit while I’m on top.

* The Cupboard, by the way, is now on Twitter here. Follow.

* That’s all I’ve got. Unless you want to talk about Game of Thrones. No? Fine.

3 Comments / Posted in Bretts, Links, Things

Exhibit 1.4.20


* There’s a new NOÖ Weekly available right here edited by Laura Eve Engel. I have a thing in it about being pope or something. It’s unclear. But it’s a fantastic issue anyway which you should check out.

* There’s also a cool prose poem made out of lines from all the pieces at the NOÖ blog here.

* So these YouTube “Hitler reacts to ____________” things are more than a little tired at this point, but I have to give it up to the Royals fan who put this one together about the Royals signing Jonathan Broxton. It’s really funny, all the more so if you’re a Royals fan who enjoys jokes about those hydraulic adaptor commercials that blanket all the radio broadcasts.

* If you’re not that–and statistically the odds of you being that are quite small–it’s still got plenty of that nutty Hitler.

* I also have a couple of Sire (on)Lines in the new Jet Fuel Review. These are about the internet and Wal-Mart which, as you might imagine, put them in the latter portions of the manuscript despite my initial intention to call the project Sam Walton: Made in America and have it sold for $8.88 at over 7,000 retail locations worldwide.

2 Comments / Posted in Journals, Links, Things

Exhibit 1.4.16


* So, um, it’s been awhile. How about that.

* I had a long post on the Penn State scandal written up, but I decided not to post it. There is absolutely nothing else to say about that.

* Literally, the only thing to say is that it’s terrible and then shut up.

* Check out the new Wigleaf for some amazing stamp stories, including one from me that’s about, I don’t know, pilgrims or something. Who knows. What I do know is that the others are awesome and that I’m very happy to be there among them.

* Anyway, it’s a very cool issue and a very cool concept. You should definitely buy the book from Mud Luscious here. Do it.

* This new Drake album is The Weeknd’s best album ever.

* Maybe I like the Childish Gambino album better, but nothing on there is as good as “Freaks and Geeks.”

* Fantasy football update: The Cal Drogo and Mike Kafkaesque are both in 2nd place.

* Grading update: I’m not doing it. I’m doing this.

* I’m barely doing this.

Comment / Posted in Journals, Links, Things

Exhibit 1.3.12


* Look, I was in Vermont for a month and made the very mature decision not to blog while there in order to concentrate on my Game of Thrones watching. And watched it was though somehow I still managed to post an Air Supply video and a picture of me getting–what the kids call–served. Priorities.

* I’m back now with nothing else to do this summer except learn French so expect more posts about garcons mangeing on pommes or whatever. That was three-quarters French so I’m almost there.

* You should check out my friend Angie’s new blog Childhood Relived. Angie’s hilarious and a mom and a hilarious mom. So glad I now have a venue for her pop culture musings that doesn’t involve me flying to Nebraska and scheduling a dinner party.

* I think I’m going to start writing about books again. Just because, you know, why not. French books? O yeah. I lit the livres. Right now, I’m reading Terrence Holt’s In the Valley of the Kings.

* So I’ve had some more Sire onLines out there though what you should really be interested in is the far more awesome work in these journals:

* I love Super Arrow. This is exactly what an online journal should be: everything a print journal can’t be. Especially a fan of the collaborations between Steven Karl and Angela Veronica Wong.

* The new jmww has some writers I love who I didn’t know I loved and plenty I already knew I loved, including Cupboard-er Andrew Borgstrom. Be sure to check out Gabe Blackwell’s equation-based story.

* kill author is amazing. That’s all, really. Really proud to be in there (as I am with all the others), and I especially dig Katie Jean Shinkle’s “When All You Want Doesn’t Want You.”

1 Comment / Posted in French, Journals, Things

Exhibit 1.3.7


Mostly self-aggrandizing, sadly. But this way it’s all in one place so you know where to look. Everywhere else.

* The new issue of Pank is up, and I’ve got a few pieces from my Sire [on]Line project in it. These are Michael Jackson, Bono, and Ghost Ronald Regan and they’re mostly notable for involving one person who wrote “Billie Jean,” one person who is a ghost, and one person who is not, in fact, an American.

* Quick thoughts on Thor: entertaining though I share Jon Favreau’s concern that it completely destroys the rules by which his Iron Man movies were working and makes the upcoming Avengers movie seem impossibly broad. I mean, one guy is a Norse God and another guy is just really good at shooting arrows? Notably, this is the only concern I share with Mikey. I mean, we are talking about a series of films that are basically Robot Jox with better effects. He’ll get over it.

* In the new The Reprint from Zine-Scene an old short-short of mine that was originally in The Southeast Review gets rewritten by the always amazing Kevin Wilson (whose upcoming novel I want to steal from heaven or wherever it’s currently kept). Honored, impressed, excited, etc. Be sure to check it out.

* Sigh.

* So if you go to the new Collagist, you’ll see a lot of great stuff, not least of which is Mathias‘s first short story, some poems by Houston-ite Russel Swensen, and a couple of great excerpts from forthcoming books. You’ll also see that [SPOILER ALERT] by Laura Eve and myself won their chapbook competition. This was an accident done mostly to prevent the winner of the Collagist contest from also winning The Cupboard’s contest. Unfortunately, we also won our own contest. I blame Dave and em for their lax rules.

* Joking. Cupboard contest results soon. Seriously though, I don’t want to be the Jake W. Apple of the chapbook scene. I’ve been embarrassed into retirement.

* If you want a [SA] preview, check out the new Sixth Finch which has one and a lot of other great work up. Do it. It’s not intentionally themed or anything–I don’t think–but a lot of it is wonderfully apocalyptic.

* Speaking of the apocalypse, we must be about ready for another one because Jon Pack Approves or Disapproves is updating again. I love Jon Pack despite his disapproval of dipping sauce.

1 Comment / Posted in America, Links, Things

Exhibit 1.2.19


* The indispensable NewPages blogged about The Cupboard (and our contest) here. Very grateful for the coverage from a source we (and everyone else) use all the time.

* O, yeah, thanks for asking: we are having a contest. Tell your friends, please. Only 10 days left.

* Speaking of us, Dave’s book got a great review from Publisher’s Weekly here and em’s taken a tenure-track job here. Go Anchormen!

(Serious question: that’s an awesome mascot, but what do they call the women’s teams? Are they the Anchorwomen? Is it too much to hope they’re the RI College Lady Anchormen?)

* While D and e were accomplishing things, I was making a snarky joke at one noted MFA program ranker’s expense here mostly to see what would happen. Um, results as expected.

* Seriously though, Glenn’s tournament thing is really fun. Read his blog.

* I’ve always appreciated how Jeff Tweedy buys unlit cigarettes. I bet Lou Reed doesn’t.

1 Comment / Posted in Lady Anchormen, Lous, Things

Exhibit 1.2.7


You know that week everyone has where they have to read Anna Karenina, the Ramayana, the Aeneid, Wieland, Sula, and The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym? Of course you don’t. Nobody else has that week. I have that week. It’s now. Don’t bother me. Here are things:

* The Cupboard continues to hold a contest. Tell your friends to submit here.

* Speaking of The Cupboard, Dave and I are no longer alone. emily danforth has come on board as a co-editor. She cries when people don’t submit to our contest.

* Two of my Houston friends have new online journals. Be sure to submit to, eventually read, and generally appreciate Owl Eye Review and Little Grid. Hooray for doing things.

* You know what you shouldn’t read? The Aeneid. Nothing against it, just don’t.

* O, there’s a new issue of elimae, and I’m in it here. This person liked my piece and for that I’m grateful. Otherwise it’s only notable for being part of my whole Sire Lines of America thing, a project I showed the logo for way back when and then put away for a long time. It’s back. Look for more online. I’m really into online all of a sudden, mostly because I wish I could add more links to this bullet.

Comment / Posted in America, Journals, Things

Exhibit 1.1.27


* A nice review of Andrew Borgstrom’s Explanations here.

* And another one here.

* I guess what I’m saying is, you should probably order it here.

* In all seriousness, this volume has gotten a great response and we at The Cupboard are really excited about it. Many thanks to all the kind reviewers spreading the word.

* In non-Cupboard news, Royals’ pitcher Gil Meche walked away from $12.4 million dollars because he couldn’t help the team this year. No, really, he retired instead of taking money he was owed on his contract. To be honest, I don’t know if it’s honorable, exactly, but it’s certainly unique. Not that it’s not honorable, just that I think Gil earned that money whether or not he was injured, and I’d rather see it in the pocket of a player who carried the Royals for two seasons than in the owner’s.

* O well. Good for Gil. Sad to see him go, but it’s the rare athlete who honestly assesses himself and does what he thinks he’s obligated to do. In a fair world, the Royals’ owners would reward his behavior by paying him some/most of the money anyway. As much as this ever happens–and it never happens–usually an injury settlement is involved. The Royals claim that’s not happening so I guess all Meche earns in the final year of his career is a lot of respect.

* Yesterday I heard an elderly professor use the words ‘hullabaloo’ ‘poppycock’ and ‘Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.’ I just thought you should know that.

* It was a weird class.

Comment / Posted in Baseball, The Cupboard, Things

Exhibit 1.1.6


* Here’s a piece by Carlin at Hobart. You’ll want to support both Carlin and Hobart. One of them is huge and the other is named Carlin.

* Quick thoughts on the Royals shopping Zack Greinke: they should. It’s basically an admission the team is going to be horrible until 2013 (and maybe not even then), but that’s really the situation whether Greinke is on the team or not. I love the guy, but it doesn’t seem like he wants to be there anymore and I can’t blame him. Nor can I blame the Royals for selling out for the future.

* Seriously though, if they sign Jeff Francoeur, I reserve the right to quit life until Wil Myers makes everything right again. If the team is doing it, I don’t see why I can’t.

* I enjoy No Robo Tumblr. Look, I don’t know what Tumblr is. I just learned what Twitter is and even then I mostly use it to update people on how into sweatpants I currently am (very).

* Did you remember there is a new Cupboard? There’s a new Cupboard. It’s really awesome. Tell your friends, give it as a gift, tumblr a review. I’m doing that right, right? Tumbl?

* Quick update on my fantasy football team: last place, season over, thank god.

* The bar in Houston that has Cornhole is creating a sensation among North-Easterners who weren’t familiar with the game. That is until I introduce Beer Pole and blow everyone’s minds.

* If someone asked me to cover a Christmas song, I too would have gone with “Holiday Road.” Granted, it’s not about Christmas anymore than my second choice is: Everclear’s “Santa (Monica).”

* The actual choice would be Petty’s “Christmas All Over Again.” The last choice would be one of those songs done by barking dogs though I’m hoping Tom Waits takes up that challenge over at the A.V. Club.

Comment / Posted in Holidays, Sports, Things

Exhibit 27.26

Things That Entertained Me While My Internet Was Down

Apparently my Netflix queue is making its way through last year’s big movies. Please forgive me when I try to engage you in a conversation about Inception in March 2013.

The White Ribbon
Maybe not quite as good as its reputation–or as good as Caché–but still really fantastic. It is not, despite what the trailers suggest, Children of the Corn: Wilhelmine Edition. Well, not exactly anyway. A strangely constructed movie and, like Caché, one purposefully demanding a conversation about what exactly happened.

Brief aside: Is it okay in film to have a narrator then show scenes that narrator could not have possibly witnessed nor known about? I don’t care, really, I’m just curious since this is the sort of thing that gets railed about in fiction workshops. I guess the opening where the narrator admits he’s not sure he remembers everything correctly is supposed to address this occasional omniscience, but it’s still a little weird when other things–like, you know, answers–are only speculated about.

The Secret in Their Eyes
Sort of an Argentine Memories of a Murder. Definitely more conventional than The White Ribbon, but at its best it’s smart and stylish and not nearly as crappy as the trailer suggests. At its worst, it’s sort of a really good episode of Law and Order and exactly what its trailer suggests.

Took me awhile but I finally remembered where I’d see the lead actor. He’s in Nine Queens, which is a nice Mamet-y con drama from a few years back. Wikipedia tells me he’s one of the biggest stars in Latin America. Makes sense. He’s sort of Tom Hanks-y.

Flight to Canada
I think I said this on Twitter, but I’m pretty sure I like this better than Mumbo Jumbo, and I love Mumbo Jumbo. Since today I can apparently only compare, I might as well say it reminded me quite a bit of Robert Coover’s The Public Burning in its conflation/exaggeration/reinvention of American history. It was written about the same time, too. Something in the air after Watergate? In any case, you should read it.

Comment / Posted in Books, Movies, Things

Exhibit 27.17


* Octopus 14 is now live and it’s all long poems. It’s amazing how this continues to be a journal that feels new every time out. This is from Jennifer Denrow’s “The Personal History of Wind”:

The people come from themselves. They’re the operations they couldn’t afford. On the other side of the room, they are dressed like clouds. We give them the personal history of wind. When it gets too loud, we shut the door and never go back. The room sits empty for months, filling up with the sound of each drama. We stop imagining what’s happening in the room, and later forget there was ever a room to begin with. Our participation in each other still occurs, but slowly, forgetfully.

* I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here, but Chris Higgs’s novel The Complete Works of Marvin K. Mooney is now officially out. If you haven’t already, pick it up right here.

* No link, but I just wanted to let you know that my first two picks in fantasy football were Shonn Greene and Ryan Matthews. My team is terrible. You shouldn’t like me.

* Enjoyed this post by Erin Belieu titled “I Was a Teenage Poetry Bride.” It’s actually pretty surreal how often this still happens.

* I think I only wanted Shonn Greene because I wouldn’t have been able to spell either half of his name correctly on the first try.

* We don’t actually have copies quite yet, but we have updated the website for The Cupboard‘s next volume: Explanations by Andrew Borgstrom. Believe me, I’ll post the full announcement, but feel free to check it out, pre-order, etc. Todd did a fantastic job with the cover we all think:

1 Comment / Posted in Ryans, The Cupboard, Things

Exhibit 27.13


* In honor of yesterday’s National Coming Out Day, you’ll want to read Dave Madden’s coming out story on his blog here. It’s touching stuff though, I have to admit, I’m a little bummed to discover his “You will never, ever amount to anything…” sign was somehow indicative of his unhappiness. Who knew? That used to be my favorite thing about Dave. Maybe it still is.

* It’s not exactly a coming out story–more self discovery?–but coincidentally I am teaching David Sedaris’s “I Like Guys” from Naked in my class this week. Hadn’t read/heard it in awhile but it’s one of my favorites and students always seem into it. You should listen to him read it here. It starts about 3 minutes in.

* There’s a new issue of the Denver Quarterly out and it’s powerful awesome. I’ve only read around, but Shane McCrae’s stuff is, as always, fantastic.

* I also was a big fan of Nathan Hill’s very sweet story which includes this moment, “After she falls asleep, she stirs and rolls over and yawns widely and a small white mouse crawls out of her mouth.”

* By the way, have you looked at the books the Poetry Center at CSU has out or forthcoming? Um, wow. Michael Dumanis and the rest of the folks there are…I don’t know. What would the kids say? Killing it? They’re killing something, that’s for sure. Despair. They’re probably killing despair.

* Next time I feel like saying something about MFA programs, I’m just going to buy one of their books. You should do the same thing. This way we won’t be horrible people.

* O, and I have a few short shorts in the Denver Quarterly but you really shouldn’t worry about that. They’re mostly notable for including one that no one can tell my grandma about. It has nothing to do with her, I just, um, maybe borrowed her name. And maybe I said everyone with that name has extra toes. Maybe.

* But in my defense, it’s a good name and I’m very sorry. My grandma does not have extra toes (as far as I know).

* Seriously, don’t tell her.

Comment / Posted in Poetry, Seriously, Things

Exhibit 26.19

Three Things

* I guest-edited the most recent edition of NOÖ Weekly which you should check out right here. Great work from people I like: Dave Madden, Angie Hume, Jeff Downey, Laura Eve Engel! Those are some heavy hitters. Go.

* I’ll be doing this tonight in Austin. Music and readings and Texas.

* The Cupboard will be having a summer sale starting…today? Tomorrow? Soon, anyway. $3 single volumes and $12 subscriptions. I’ll probably post the announcement here, but get ready for it.

Comment / Posted in Links, The Cupboard, Things

Exhibit 25.26

Things I Learned on My 20-hour Drive

* By the time you cross the Missouri River for the third time in a state, it’s a little played out.

* At Indiana’s border, their signs say “Boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln.” This when coming from Illinois. I don’t want to start a border war here, but someone should tell Indiana to let this one go. Unfortunately, they can’t because:

* Indiana is the worst state.

* Do not underestimate the demand for hotels around Niagara Falls in the summer. I, uh, did. At least now I get to say I’ve seen Rochester. Also, I saw a smoking room with two queen beds and twenty minutes of a 2:30am showing of Funny People on HBO.

* There is a U-Haul trailer that says Lincoln, Nebraska, and has a picture of local legend…Raggedy Andy. I have no idea what the connection is here. I don’t think there is one. Clearly no one from U-Haul’s massive design department has ever been to Nebraska.

* Apparently, one of the country’s largest R.V. dealer’s last name is Raper. I wouldn’t make fun of it except that he also used about every third billboard to put up a religious message with his name–still Raper–plastered all over it. Naturally, he’s from Indiana.

* I still won’t make fun of it, but I also won’t tell him that he should add an ‘i’ to his name because being Thomas Rapier would be sweet.

* The Canadian chain Tim Horton’s is slowly taking over the Midwest and no one seems to care. It’s like Red Dawn only…no, wait, it’s exactly like Red Dawn.

* I spent the better part of Ohio wondering what the Nebraska state quarter would look like if designed by U-Haul. My best guess? Scarlett O’Hara eating pudding with otters. One of the otters would be saying, “Mahogany” and holding an eggplant.

* Say what you will about it, but New York knows how to do a tollway service area right. In Kansas, they all have a McDonald’s and a gas station. The one I stopped at in New York had two different ice cream parlors and an ice cream vending machine. It seemed excessive, but some lucky little boy on his way to Utica probably disagrees.

* Radio soccer is…well…imprecise. I’m going to chock this one up to having an American announcer, but it wasn’t uncommon to hear sentences like, “Americans at midfield, Donovan, what’s this, O my, Ghana scores!”

* I liked it when the guy would just yell, “Pass!” It was both the right thing to yell and completely unhelpful. Like if you were pregnant and someone asked what you were having and you just yelled, “Baby! Baby!” at them and then read a commercial for Home Depot.

* Is it like that? I don’t know.

3 Comments / Posted in Driving, New York, Things

Exhibit 25.9

Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever

Leaving a writers’ conference with a bag full of books can be more than a little disorienting, and choosing the first one to read on the plane home becomes an impossible task. Do you go with a literary journal for a sampling of work? A book by someone you know? Eschew them all and buy whatever book about boy wizards can be found at the airport? After hours spent contemplating this decisions while hotel maids vacuumed over my feet and another family checked into the room, I chose Taylor’s debut story collection, and, if I may say, I think I chose well.

Among many other fine qualities, Taylor’s book is a writer’s book, full of deft language and style. More than anyone else, the stories here remind me of Breece D’J Pancake. There’s a similar undercurrent of sadness and sense of powerlessness here, and as with Pancake there’s something particularly youthful in that listlessness. With less heart it would be trite or with more anger it would be cynical, but Taylor makes these young lives grand with language and humor.

Consider the beginning of the short short “Finding Myself:”

I keep finding myself in places I don’t expect me, such as outside churches, lurking, peering in their dooryards, or inside my own hollow skull, living a life to which the term hardscrabble might be astutely or ironically applied. Luckily, there are no ironists or astuticians around to subject me to application. It’s just me in here–I’m not even wearing socks.

The best stories here stay in this vein though I’d be doing the collection a disservice if I made it sound navel-gazing. There’s a lot going on in these stories, and Taylor’s not a writer afraid of plot. But at least when I finished the book sometime before my plane landed, what I appreciated most were the moments like the one above, when these smart, sensitive narrators weren’t passive but weren’t quite ready to take charge of the world either. Their author, however, doesn’t have such problems as throughout the collection each word seems dropped by a hand that knows exactly where it belongs.

Comment / Posted in Best, Fiction, Things

Exhibit 23.9

Things That Are Good

Things That Are Terrible

Things That Are Things

1 Comment / Posted in Good, Terrible, Things