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Archives for October 2011

Walter Reviews Palahniuk’s Riff on Dante

Korrektiv friend (and House of Words blurber) Jess Walter reviews Chuck Palahniuk’s latest: Damned.

“Internet is dial-up. Printers are all dot-matrix. There are only two jobs: Internet porn and those telephone solicitors who call during dinnertime. The smell, while awful, is ‘nowhere near as bad as Naples in the summertime during a garbage strike.'”

Read the entire review at The Washington Post.

Today in Parenting

So Second Son and I went to an audition for a local radio show thingy last night.  To warm up, The Wife and I were giving him exercises.  “Tell us you just won the lottery” – that sort of thing.

The Wife:  He needs to do something to show sadness.

Me:  Okay.  Tell me that you just got a phone call telling you that my mother has died in a car accident.

And he did it.  And he did a good job.  And I told him so. “Good job,” I said.  And I thought to myself, “I just asked my son to pretend that his grandmother was dead, and that he had to tell me about it.  Acting is evil, and I’m a monster.”

Today in Porn, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me Edition

So the gang of cut-ups that somehow have our job on radio was discussing the birth of the world’s seven billionth baby.

“What’s responsible for this?” asked one fellow.

“The population boom?” replied a second.

“Yeah,” said the first.  “Is it the Internet?”

“Um, no,” answered the second, stammering just a little in amused disbelief.  “I’m pretty sure that’s not it.”

N. Katherine Hayles on Electronic Literature

N. Katherine Hayles is a professor of literature at Duke University, specializing in electronic literature. This interview is two years old, but Hayles provides some great context for changes in our current understanding of Literature with a capital “L”. In a word, she’s in favor of keeping it capitalized. I think. And did you know that ELO no longer means “Electric Light Orchestra”? You do now.

The interview is conducted by Stacy Cochran for his show, The Artist’s Craft. My favorite comment: “In addition to words, which remain important for most literary works, you could have animation, you could have kinetic effects, you could have something like a flash implementation …” I gave up at that point. On copying out the quotation, that is. Not the rest of the show.

In a prior career, Hayles worked as a chemist for Xerox and helped developed toner for copy machines. She wrote an excellent article on Navokov’s Ada. And she’s from St. Louis, or Missouri, at any rate. So she knows what she’s talking about, and you should watch this program.

Social gracesheses

So, I like gin now, but I am pretty sure I’m doing it wrong?

My husband went down to the liquor store after I got back from my pilgrimage and said “my wife wants to start drinking gin” and the guy told him that this was as good as the stuff twice as pricey, but what do I know? All I know is that Webb said Tanqueray is good.

Gin and tonic is apparently not all that low-cal, which is not really a concern except when I get on my “drink your way to fitness” kick, and I noticed Duffy mixed hers with Diet Rite? Am I recalling this correctly?

So I got some Schweppes club soda, and I put in two parts club soda, one part gin, and a splash of Wal-Mart brand cran-grape juice, and I felt so ashamed, even as I finished it.

Then I tried just the club soda and the gin with a big twist of lime, and that is actually quite good. My husband says that’s because I appreciate the clean quality of good alcohol but I wonder if it’s not because I had the juice drink first, and I know gin and juice is a thing, okay, I’m not proud.

Where do I go from here? Am I on the right path?


My nice Internet friend NancyO has promised to stop by, so real quick, let’s tidy up and be on our best behavior, by which I mean…well, I’m really not sure.

BUT, in honor of her site, Rough Places Plain:

And check out her photos from the pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela this summer.

At Long Last…It Can Be Told

The winners of the first and quite possibly the last ever Korrektiv Triolet Contest are as follows:

1st Place

My daughter says parthenogenesis
Engenders life in ovocytes unseeded;
Her flint eyes pierce my brown ones. ‘Incubus?!’
My daughter says. ‘Parthenogenesis
‘Needs no such mystical hypothesis.’
Mom, granite-eyed, agrees — my jest unheeded.
My daughter says parthenogenesis
Engenders life in ovocytes unseeded.

by Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OPL

Award: Figures of Speech: 60 Ways to Turn a Phrase by Arthur Quinn

2nd Place

The Naturalist and the Dogma
The source of nature’s always-being?
Divine parthenogenesis.
Found from lizards to heaven’s Queen:
The source of nature’s always-Being,
Who makes with methods byzantine.
My case in point: the genesis,
The source of nature, ‘s always being
Divine Parthenogenesis.

by Tom Tousignant

Award: Piers Plowman by William Langland 

3rd Place

Christians in Exam Room 4
They look. I lie, “Parthenogenesis.
Rare case. Call it a miracle…”
He interrupts, “What is–?”
“Birth of your savior? That was parthenogenesis.”
Wondering how he can believe this.
She’s quiet, grateful; He’s rapturous, hysterical.
Father-to-be plays with the word: “par-then-o-genesis?”
“Yep, no accident…a miracle.”

by Robert Simpson

Award: Martial’s Epigrams (trans. Gary Wills)

 4th Place

Oh, Father – No father! Damn parthenogenesis!
Taken forever, a most precious tie.
Denied the advantages, pluses, and benefits
Of having a father! For parthenogenesis,
A book full of curses! Just pick one, for any fits.
Crying for justice, in vain do I cry.
Each Father’s Day blank – thanks to parthenogenesis,
I never can give him a most precious tie.

by Bob the Ape

Award: Baseball Haiku: The Best Haiku Ever Written About the Game (ed. Cor Van Den Heuvel and Nanae Tamura)

Honorable Mention:

“There is a kind of grief”
There is a kind of grief, begotten by parthenogenesis,
when no father paces, glowing, or passes out a cigar
to each passing stranger, pausing only to reminisce.
How great the grief inherited through parthenogenesis,

for even children know there should have been a kiss.
Ask Gaia; ask Dolly—les filles se croyaient très bizarres—
they understand the grief peculiar to parthenogenesis,
who have no fathers pacing, or pausing over glowing cigars.

By Jeb O’Brian

Award: The Odes of Pindar (trans. Richmond Lattimore)

Honorable Mention:

“Did Jobe form Jeb…?”
Did Jobe form Jeb by parthenogenesis?
A nom de plume or fictional character?
How much of Jobe’s beer is in Jeb’s piss?
Did Jobe form Jeb by parthenogenesis?

The author hits what others miss
Page after page and chapter to chapter.
Did Jobe form Jeb by parthogenesis?
A nom de plume or fictional character?

By Jonathan Potter

Award: Endpoint and Other Poems by John Updike

Winners will be recieving* their award prizes within the next week or so.

Thanks for the deep thoughts and thanks for you!

*If you have not yet done so, please send me your physical address by contacting me through email given in the comments here.

Evelyn Waugh

From The Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of Evelyn Waugh (books by this author), born in London, England in 1903. His family was affluent, and he was upset when he found out that he couldn’t attend the same prestigious school as his father and brother. He wasn’t allowed in because his brother, Alec Waugh, had a homosexual relationship, was dismissed from the school, and then wrote a book about it. So Evelyn went to a less prestigious school, where he thought all his classmates were unsophisticated. Then he went to Hertford, one of the Oxford Colleges, where he did art and wrote and drank, and neglected his academics. When someone asked him if he’d done any sports at college, he replied, “I drank for Hertford.” He left Oxford without a degree. He tried teaching and he hated it, he was in debt, so he attempted suicide by drowning himself in the ocean, but he got stung by a jellyfish so he ran back out. He decided to give his life another chance, and he wrote his first novel, Decline and Fall (1928). It’s about an innocent schoolteacher named Paul Pennyfeather who is expelled from Oxford for running across campus without his trousers, and has no choice but to become a schoolteacher. He’s surrounded by bigots, drunks, and pedophiles, and he almost marries the mother of one of his students, but it turns out she makes her money trafficking in brothels in South America. Evelyn Waugh went on to write many novels, including Brideshead Revisited (1945).

Evelyn Waugh said, “The human mind is inspired enough when it comes to inventing horrors; it is when it tries to invent a Heaven that it shows itself cloddish.”

Abortion Funnies

The Onion continues its delicate dance.



I don’t usually link to my ditherings at the day job here, but then again, I don’t usually watch the trailer to the new Lorax film, either.

Amazon’s role in the publishing game

I didn’t hear him mention CreateSpace but I’m pretty sure he said “Korrektiv Press” about halfway through:

(If you don’t know who Gary Vaynerchuck is, don’t judge him based on this annoying two-camera switchy switchy video.)

Bad Catholic – How to Pray Badly

Guys, Bad Catholic is becoming an occasion of envy and looking back in despair, since the author is HALF MY AGE with thrice the wisdom. Maybe he’s like the Benjamin Button of the blogosphere and will be posting celebrity baby updates by the time he’s 37. But for now – How To Pray Badly:

…the Saint gazing at an icon of Christ does not gaze to gaze well, to get used to the Divine Face or to understand it. He gazes to confirm the suspicion that he cannot understand it at all. He gazes for hours to see the face of Christ for one second. He contemplates for years to realize that he has not enough lifetimes to contemplate. The expert would seek an answer. The Saint seeks a mystery. The expert would gaze well. The Saint looks at the face of Christ like an idiot child looks at a bird on his windowsill.

This Christianity of ours is dying. It is dying because we are seeing it for 999th time. Its language has been destroyed. Think of the phrase our Evangelical-Protestant culture has gifted to the world. “Jesus Saves.” This is entirely true, but it is entirely dead.

And just as my fingers were poised to type “MERDE,” he goes and quotes Walker Percy…

The Heartland Youth for Decency Memorial Park

Do you recall the Heartland Youth

For Decency, how they came West

To save us from our sorry state:

Grown rank with sin and long of tooth?

The tramp stamp and the half-bared breast

Still gripped us, though we weren’t sure why;

Our fires having gone to ash.

They swore they’d never share our fate

Still itching when we came to die

Still wanting flesh despite the lash.

They brought Ohio, God, and grace

Their supple selves in modest dress

But offered love that looked like hate

And Jesus darkened up the place –

Salvation via full-court press.

But youth of every kind will fade

Those Decent kids themselves are old

And now the time is growing late.

We made a park – two trees, some shade

Skin is California’s gold.

Golden Age of God Films?

Of Gods and Men, Warrior, The Mill and the Cross, The Way, Higher Ground…

These are interesting times.

Public Service Announcement

The new Tom Waits, “Bad as Me,”  is available for $5.99 (mp3 format) at Amazon.

Contents of Wallet

one powerball ticket
overall odds 1:35.11 ($1 play)
one check from my wife in the amount of five hundred dollars
one handwritten receipt for after school care in the amount of sixty dollars
one baggage claim receipt dated 10-17
several other receipts dated 10-17
a folded post-it note with a password and the email address of someone I met at a wake
a torn and tattered fortune-cookie message which reads, Versatility is one of your outstanding traits.
four photographs of my eldest daughter
two photographs of my youngest daughter
one photograph of both daughters
one photograph of my daughters and my wife
an expired groupon
a torn-out and folded newspaper article about a place called Big Rock
my driver’s license
debit card
credit card
insurance card
university ID
public library card
business card
real estate license (expires 2/10/2012)
rechargeable local coffeehouse card (no money on it)
another university ID
another one (expired)
KOA Value Kard (good thru 07/12)
Costco card
copy card
another business card, Joseph O’Brien’s address and phone number written on the back of it
twenty-three dollars

Rally, Kollektiv, Rally!

Over at the National Catholic Register, Jennifer Fulwiler asks What It Would Take for Christianity To Dominate the Arts?

When Catholic media producers tell their artists to produce something overtly Catholic, instead of telling them to produce something beautiful, they’re not always going to get the best possible products. Sure, sometimes great art will focus on elements of Christianity (e.g. the Sistine Chapel); but other times the Holy Spirit may simply inspire a devout Catholic to create something that glorifies God without specifically mentioning the Faith at all (e.g. The Lord of the Rings trilogy). Of course an artist’s work will be greater and purer if he prays the Rosary every day; but to tell him that he must paint rosaries all the time in order to be a good Catholic artist is to put a straight jacket on the Muse.

For Spiritual Edification

“Do not generalize from a particular instance.
Do not say that a certain person is a drunkard
Because you have seen him drunk once…..
A single act is not enough to justify such a label.”

– St. Francis de Sales

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