Archives for October 2005

Last Month In Porn

Sorry I missed this when it ran – three women discussing two books on porn over at Slate. Both the books were authored by women, and at least one of the books has a decidedly feminine slant, so I guess it’s understandable that the people discussing it should be women. But it might’ve been interesting to throw a guy into the mix.

Worst. Halloween. Ever.

Maybe five houses with carved pumpkins. Only a few more with ersatz ceramic jobs. Maybe a dozen other trick-or-treaters. “It’s because of the day of the week,” suggested one candy-giver. Day of the week? It’s Halloween! Are kids so sugar-sated that the chance to score free candy off of strangers isn’t enough to make them finish their homework early and skip Must See Monday television? And because of the shortage of trick-or-treaters, the poor candy-givers were doling it out by the handful. We knocked off well before completing our usual circuit, and still netted nearly twice our standard haul for the four children. We filled both of the biggest bowls in the house. More goods with less spirit. Sounds sadly familiar.

Being Gay Means Being Post-Modern Means Everything Is Whatever

I refer to the moment in which Sam says, “She has Steven’s nose and my lips.” It’s either pure brain-addled sentimentality or else reality-fabricating will-to-truth (the homosexual as super-man! I wonder what Nietzsche would have said). I mean, Sam doesn’t really think that he and Steven both fertilized that egg…that 32 chromosomes plus 32 chromosomes plus 32 chromosomes really could equal 64 chromosomes…does he? If Sam isn’t embarrased by such nonsense, is there not at least one liberal out there (e.g., a scientific liberal, of which there must surely be many) who is? Or does he really think, somewhere deep down, that because he wants it to be so, it is?

But then, why am I surprised? I once had a debate with a co-worker in the presence of our quietly gay supervisor about the relation of will to truth, which ended with me checkmating my opponent (no great feat here) by asking, “Which determines what is true–your choice, or reality?” He grudgingly admitted, “Reality…whatever that is.” But I actually heard my gay supervisor, who had been working facing the other way and feigning not-listening, mutter under his breath: “My choice.”

I wonder if homosexuals ever need therapy.

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A reading from the Lowrie translation of Kierkegaard’s Stages on Life’s Way — continued.

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A reading from the Lowrie translation of Kierkegaard’s Stages on Life’s Way

Deadline: Tomorrow

Or tomorrow, and tomorrow – my editor says he’ll accept delivery on All Souls’ Day.

Here’s a sentence I just read as I tried to edit myself:

“And now, having opened that enormous can of theoretical worms, I’m gonna screw the lid right back on and stick to the storytelling.”

Yes, yes, I know you can’t really screw a lid onto a can – that would be a jar, silly. But let the copyeditor worry about that. I mention the line because it makes me wish I could fill the book with doodled illustrations – just imagine what an opened can of theoretical worms would look like….

T-Muffle v. MoDo…

this is a classic return to form.

Next up: David Brooks as a G-man?

Jesus was a Liberal…

…is what it says on the button my friend sent me.

I get what he was getting at, but I couldn’t help but think of him yesterday at Mass, when Jesus said that the Scribes and Pharisees had taken the seat of Moses, and that people should do everything they said.

Homilies often focus on what comes after – on not being hypocrites who say one thing and do another. I think it’s interesting that Jesus, even as he was unmasking the Scribes and Pharisees for the hypocrites they were, still affirmed their authority to teach, their right to tell people what to do.


I thought this was interesting.

Double Remove

The Korrektiv Summer Reading Klub continues apace.

Check out Quotidian Quintilian’s latest post.

The Challenge

Over at the First Things blog, Father Neuhaus has noted the following:

Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in six words, which he did. (I’ll get to what he wrote.) Black Book magazine issued the same challenge to a slew of well-known contemporary authors. Norman Mailer wrote this: “Satan – Jehovah – fifteen rounds. A draw.” John Updike: “Forgive me!’ ‘What for?’ ‘Never mind.’” None of them come close to what Hemingway wrote: “For sale: baby shoes, never used.”

Joseph Bottum has added that his best effort at the one-sentence story is this:

“Something about him put her back up, and she swore that this time she wouldn’t take his advances lying down.”

Now, Nutmeg has gone and challenged me to reel in my powers of prolixity and take up Mr. Hemingway’s six-fingered gauntlet. Short story, six words. First attempt:

“Now, it’s too heavy to drop.”

I know, I know. I’ll keep thinking. How ’bout y’all?

Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Arthur St John Waugh was born on this date in 1903 at 11 Hillfield Road, Hampstead, London, and died in 1966.

His strongest tastes were negative. He abhorred plastics, Picasso, sunbathing, and jazz – everything in fact that had happened in his own lifetime. The tiny kindling of charity which came to him through his religion sufficed only to temper his disgust and change it to boredom…
— The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold (1957)

This Just In…

…most priests are gay.

Or at least, that’s what Madonna says. No mention of how she conducted her research.

According to the article, she also says that people “are going to go to hell, if they don’t turn from their wicked behavior.”

Today in Porn

From this week’s installment of Chuck Shepherd’s News of the Weird – with a word of warning to the gynecologically sensitive:

“Los Angeles has become the U.S. epicenter for surgery for women seeking to ‘firm up’ their genitals, with Dr. David Matlock the chief practitioner of ‘vaginal rejuvenation,’ according to a dispatch in Toronto’s Globe and Mail in August.” (August? Hey, they’re just like us – yesterday’s news today!) “Much of the impetus comes from patients’ (or their husbands’ or boyfriends’) desire for vulvas as trim and youthful as those of actresses in porno movies.”

Just another case of life imitating art?


I’m not sure what I can add to this, except maybe that it aroused in me no feeling of shock or surprise. From Duncan Shepherd’s review of the recently released film Three Extremes:


Chan’s offering, titled “Dumplings,” is apparently a condensation of a feature-length film of the same name, an extremely twisted twist on the fountain-of-youth theme. The fountain in this instance would be the pricey homemade dumplings of the tenement-dwelling Bai Ling, whose flawless face and hinted-at advanced age are their best advertisement: “My dumplings are worth it. You get what you pay for.” An over-the-hill TV actress, Miriam Yeung, with a wandering husband to reel in, is willing to pay the price, even when the secret ingredient is revealed to be aborted human fetuses, chopped up very fine.

I am not giving away much there. This is nowhere near the story’s punchline, although the witnessed abortion achieves an early and unchallenged pinnacle in gore. Because this revelation isn’t the punchline, the viewer is obliged to sit for a while with the idea of self-indulgence, the idea of narcissism, at its most — shall we say again? — extreme. Shall we even say its logical extreme? The actual punchline, after what has preceded it, feels like the merest tap.


As I said – horrifying, yes; shocking, no.

Finished it.

Tons of editing, retweaking, reweaving, re-everything still to do. But I have typed the book’s final sentence. Now back to the day job. Five days ’til deadline.

The Thing Is…

…if you’re a brilliant writer, you get forgiven a lot of things: antisocial behavior, excessive drinking, fits of depression, offensive comments, general melancholy, moral lapses…I’ll stop now.

BUT, if you’re a middling writer, then you’re just a boor.

(So shall we add self-pity to the list?)

Conversation with the Wife

“I’ve figured out a job I could do if we ever moved back east.”
“Pouring Slurpees?”
“Thanks. I’m blogging that.”
“You’re the one who said you could get a job at 7-11.”
“I said AM/PM. And I said I’d make Assistant Manager in five years.”
“‘Would you like that in Cherry or Coke?’ Oh, wait – you pour your own Slurpees now. Your pouring skills are no longer required.”
“I love you, honey.”