Friday, January 28, 2011

Apple quality finally winning out?

From Salon:

In many ways, Apple is the antithesis of the typical multinational firm. Where
many corporations sacrifice craftsmanship and customer service on the altar of
low price, Apple does the opposite. For example, according to the market
research firm NPD, the average Apple Macintosh computer is double the price of
the equivalent Windows-based PC. At the same time, Forrester Research reports
that Apple far outpaces its rivals in customer satisfaction, likely because (as
any Mac convert knows) Apple products and support are the most reliable and
intuitive in the industry.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Composer Matthew Ricketts took some words that I wrote, jumbled and rearranged them, interspersed them with stuff from Tender Buttons, and set it all to music. I "met" Matthew on Facebook a couple years ago, though I still haven't met him in person. I have no idea what the piece will sound like, but I think it will be entertaining. You should probably come and listen to it, if you are able. (I swiped that graphic from here.)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Recently declassified document

Recently declassified document obtained through FOIA.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This Recording posted this classic irreverent interview between John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch. I had read some quotes from it before, but I had never read the whole thing until today. An excerpt:

JA: I think we should clear up the question as to whether the ambiguity in our work is the result of modern life's having made us so ashamed of our experiences that we cannot write about them in any other way, or whether we feel that if we turn quickly around we'll discover something that wouldn't have happened otherwise.

KK: The first possibility you mention I don't understand – how can "modern life" make us ashamed? – but the second is very appealing. I don't feel, by the way, that what I am after in my work is ambiguity.

JA: What do you feel that you are after?

KK: Guess.

JA: I give up.

KK: Do you mean to say that you have been reading my poems all these years thinking ah there he's succeeded in getting that ambiguity he's after, and oh there he hasn't? I mean you don't really think that a main aim in my poetry is to be ambiguous, do you?

JA: Well, it would help if you would consent to give a straight answer to my last question.

KK: I think the difficulty of my doing so has considerable bearing on the topic under discussion.

JA: Since you refuse to reply unambiguously, I must conclude that ambiguity is the central thing in our work.

KK: I have always liked your poetry, but your command of logic leaves me speechless with admiration.

JA: Perhaps this has some bearing on the topic of our discussion.

KK: I don't see how.

JA: I assume you were being ironic when you said my command of logic left you speechless with admiration. Therefore poetry is not logical or is not necessarily so.

KK: What you say is very unclear, but I suppose you mean that since I find one of your remarks illogical and since I like your poems, that therefore I must like poems which are illogical. But I don't find your poems either logical or illogical. If you want this interview to have the logic of a poem and not ordinary logic we will have to start over again.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


At homecoming and abroad,
calculation drips from

photocopier to poem. I've
never seen a more

invested source detector.
Can you happen over me

somehow in a long
lost light-year? Here again the

sickening propagandist I wouldn't
dream of discarding—

well, linear timing's a
blabbermouth like that, a fee

no one can afford. It's terrific,
I think, a real assistant to

this hazy, careworn clincher.
The resulting remnant, at least,

is no less shapeless.

Monday, January 10, 2011

People are still writing these articles?

I usually like Salon, but I just read an article by Matt Zoller Seitz about Californication that was pretty dumb. The author calls the show an "atrocious masculine fantasy". The basic point is that because the show's main character is often sexist, that means it's a sexist show. It reminded me of a similar comment about House I read on a blog or something not too long ago.

Do serious adult literary/television/movie critics really still believe that characters should be paragons of virtue, or "role models"? Just because characters have flaws, that doesn't mean we're supposed to approve. We're not really supposed to "disapprove" either, exactly, because art isn't about approving and disapproving. It's about taking a look at people and their problems, looking for some kind of truth about human behavior. Sometimes truth comes in the form of ugliness. Does that mean we should pretend the ugliness doesn't exist? What's next, is someone going to remove the word "nigger" from Huckleberry Finn? Oh wait.

Californication really has a lot of heart, in addition to being funny. And it's full of smart women characters! It's a shame to see a reviewer apparently unable to see things beyond a superficial level.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Two questions

If I want to publish a book, what's the best way to go about doing that? Seems like everyone else is doing it. I want to make that my goal for 2011. At least it will give me something to distract myself with.


When you make a blog post, do you manually reset the time just before you hit "publish post" in order to accurately reflect the time at the moment you're hitting the button? (I do.)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

English Department, Ballantine Hall, 4th floor, Indiana University
I don't think I'm smart enough to be a writer.
If someone has a way for me to go to grad school that doesn't involve quitting my job or leaving New York, I'm all ears.
I have trouble letting go. Maybe I was foolish to think I could change overnight. I just need to keep the backsliding to a minimum. "Two steps forward, one step back," as they say.
Every time I try to say the right things I end up saying the wrong things. Why does this keep happening?

A year and a half

since I wrote this post, and not a thing has changed, except now I've been at my job for four years instead of two and a half. I still do not know what to do. I appreciate advice, but I just don't know how to follow it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011