Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Odd Ends

I'm feeling a bit neglectful of ye olde Bang this week, and I'm about to get a whole lot more bloody neglectful for a few weeks, so here's a few idle, mostly non-crime-related tidbits to amuse before I hang up a "Gone Fishin'" sign for a little bit.

I find this story from New York Magazine haunting for some reason. It chronicles the volatile love story and double suicide of Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake, two rising NYC artists who were just getting out from under the thumb of commercial work when one, and then the other, did themselves in. A veritable "Conspiracy of Two." One of the best magazine articles I've read this year.

I'm reviewing Brock Clarke's fondly weird satire An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England this week. Algonquin has opened up a clever teaser site for the book, including some practical advice for budding arsonists ("Practice. For God's sake, practice.") and an automated "Memoirizer." If the Olde Manse burns down this week, it wasn't me. Even though I can see it from here. And I have matches.

Unrelated but along the same lines, apparently there's some sort of childfree movement in France that's causing parents all sorts of anxiety. A nice piece in the Times, "Enfents Terrible" runs down the book and offers 20 reasons not to have children. ("Children will put the seal on your childhood dreams ...Children sound the death knell of the couple ... There are already too many children on the planet Children are dangerous. They will take you to court without a second thought.") I will stifle my cackling and try to contain it to this corner of the bar. Heh

Also in the times, apparently bloodthirsty lesbians are wreaking their revenge on Ian Rankin, poor bloke. Keep the left up, Ian. Elsewhere in Scottish literary news, apparently the good Mr. Rankin told a joke at a reading and everyone seems to have taken it quite seriously

I told someone earlier today that no one reads at a serious level anymore. CNN says I'm right. Here, watch devolution at work.

"I just get sleepy when I read," said Richard Bustos of Dallas, Texas, a habit with which millions of Americans can doubtless identify. Bustos, a 34-year-old project manager for a telecommunications company, said he had not read any books in the last year and would rather spend time in his backyard pool.

Finally, in the Washington Post, apparently there's quite the elaborate plan for dealing with anyone within eyesight of the big W.

To counter any demonstrators who do get in, advance teams are told to create "rally squads" of volunteers with large hand-held signs, placards or banners with "favorable messages." Squads should be placed in strategic locations and "at least one squad should be 'roaming' throughout the perimeter of the event to look for potential problems," the manual says.

Say a prayer for the prescient Joe Strummer: "You have the right to free speech, as long as you're not dumb enough to actually use it."

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