Sep 30, 2009

Pixels pulled back to the canvas

Sep 28, 2009

In between mountains

He always smelled of natural cigarettes and body odor. At parties he juggled sticks he set on fire. Everyone assumed this was because he was from Europe, except at home, where he was the boy who'd gotten lost in America.

He never said either way.

He read Plato and Arne Naess, but erratically and idiosyncratically, and some days not at all, choosing instead to go sailing on a little tiny duck pond that was surrounded by suburban homes, spending the whole day out there, nude and burning a deep, deep red. He was older than the other students, having served some time as peace keeper. It was in Somalia, or Bosnia, Botswana, or maybe he was just stationed in Switzerland -- it made him older and took a few years but wasn't otherwise clear. It was really hard to imagine him as a peace keeper. It was really hard to imagine him as a student, or a teacher, or anythinlike that. It was hard to imagine him as anything actually.

The stories about him were anecdotes that don't come together but only increased like cells endlessly dividing or as bright beads seen in sliding, symmetrical mirrors. He might have been a hippie or a neo-hippie, if anyone ever asked him to say, a Beat Buddhist, teahead of time, a person in a Pynchon novel or an anachronistic actor at Burning Man. Everyone assumed it was just that he was European, though, except at home, where with names like Swen and Olga, Andrij and Bodashka, they wondered what circus this America was.

On Thanksgiving Day he drank in a bar on State Street, and he met a girl who said she was a gypsy and from a family where there were only women. She said it was ancient and always they only had girls and it was a secret world of women. He thought that was amazing and believed her and believed gypsy witches would hang out on State Street, in what was a cover band bar.

He used to talk about sailing south, hitch hiking from port town to town down to Argentina, where there was a wedding, and then he'd come back up again. It wasn't clear what he was looking for. It wasn't clear what this was, or what continent should carry the adjective. Or was it older. Or newer. He wanted a vision of something of the open sea and to talk to llamas and squat on Hopi land, reading rocks. It was something of a cipher, and a cliche, if cliche can account for confusion, and he never felt like he needed to say what he was looking for or if this was just joy, or being lost. It seemed to everyone though that this was something from a world from before, like a caravan of monotheist men looking for a better land in some big-B better way, and also something new, something people always come to America to do, like the mountain man who said he wasn't lost, but said, very satisfied, he just didn't know which mountain was which for a few days.
Making morning market

Sep 25, 2009

We do not try to describe the worries we have realized

Aage Bohr, who explained the shape of the atomic nucleus, dies at 87. May he rest in peace.
Jonathan Letham on the emotional gulf between writing a book and seeing it published.
Street Fight: Political documentary on new, Obama-esque mayore of Newark
Why do we still care about the Raymond Carver-Gordon Lish conflict?
Nick Cave talks about his new book, The Death of Bunny Monroe
Fight dirty at scrabble, a game of points, corners and frustration
Ralph Nader's novel: a utopian fantasy of "super-rich"
One clown continues to fight nuclear weapons across America
Review of the third edition of the dictionary of the F word
Religion for radicals: An interview with Terry Eagleton
A disillusioned insider on the last days of G.W. Bush
Self-published novel gets 23-year-old case reopened
David Brooks defines racism as impossible to prove
Cosby talks about The Cosby Show, 25 years later
Hear James Ellroy read from Blood's a Rover on NPR
James Ellroy's revisionist history roars off the page
How the US should build a high-speed rail network
Remembering Mary Travers of Peter, Paul & Mary
Conservatives debate the value of Glenn Beck
Humans hiding: camouflage as art
Electric literature: Single sentence animation
The business brilliance of the Netflix prize
No memory for pain: John Cheever begins
Kafka and absurdists makes you smarter
Should Derrida be read by philosophers?
Peter, Paul and Mary were my people
Christopher Hitchens on Irving Kristol
What I learned when I killed a chicken
Slovoj Zizek's top 10 video moments
Underground Berlin: a film treatment
Best fiction of the millennium so far
Modernistic, modular bookshelves
Sick, elderly Nazi retired in Austria
Does belief in evolution = atheism?
Ukranian history in sand animation
Fans of Twilight flock to Forks, Wash.
Recording the Clinton presidency
When I first met Sherlock Holmes
Slow boiling a frog of a metaphor
Intellectual conservatism is dead
Where does evolution leave God?
Karen Armstrong's case for God
The inherent ambiguity of WTF
James Ellroy on rewriting history
Cory Booker's battle for Newark
The Frankfurt School in exile
A syllabus of Roberto Bolaño
Remembering Irving Kristol
Michael Moore's new movie
Talking to Tess Gallagher
Artists' passport photos
30 mosques in 30 days
Commercial sculpture
Talking to Dan Brown
Dan Brown does DC
The way we die now
Airport photography
James Ellroy talks
Bukowski in love
Ayn Rand today
The rural gay

Sep 23, 2009

Like much if it was all

Everything was pretty much closed for Christmas, but he got to the gas station while it was open and had a hot dog there. He bought jerky for later and Marlboro Lights to last 'til tomorrow.

The apartment was cold, but Ken slept with his coat. He hadn't had sheets on the mattress in months and the mattress was on the floor, along with most of his clothes and an ashtray he'd taken from a restaurant. The apartment was bigger than he needed now that his wife was gone. The furniture looked like wreckage from a boat. What he had was an easy chair, an empty shelf, a side table with a TV, all floating quietly around the carpet, drifting slowly until it was all bunched up in one corner where the window was.

The rain was getting colder now. He went to see if there was something he could take pictures of, but ended up just driving around listening to the police scanner. There was an accident, but no one was hurt. He got one shot of a woman with an umbrella, but it wasn't sharp. They probably wouldn't run anything anyway. It'd have to be really good and even then it'd only be on the inside and not in color.

Ken went in to the newspaper and it was warm and no one was there, but it was still depressing to be there on Christmas. He'd have to call his father soon. They'd be back from church soon, and he would call and say hello and great! great! yeah, everything's good. He'd say Diane said hi too, even though she didn't and he knew she probably wouldn't, but he couldn't tell his father that. He couldn't think about what his father would say and he always did anyway in his mind. He thought what his dad would say even though he was always just silent, and sad. If he said anything it would just be to say how you can tell a man's a man by the way he treats his wife and you can't be a man, you know, without the help of Jesus.

Diane would be at church too, with her sister and her sister's husband now. She'd probably cry again. The husband did construction and preached at the church some Sundays. Diane had asked him once how come he wasn't like that, and what was he supposed to say?

Ken could tell his dad that tomorrow would be 11 years since he stopped drinking, but he wouldn't. It didn't seem like much if it was all he'd made of his life.

There wasn't anything on TV. No news except the weather. If there was news he could chase it, but there was nothing. There was a James Bond marathon on but he got bored by it. He watched the end credits of "You Only Live Twice," with Sean Connery, but then it was George Lazenby, dumb and jokey, and ha ha, this never happened to the other fellow. But there was nothing else on. There was some Chinese food left in the fridge in the break room, so he had that. The rice was pretty dry, though. He'd call his dad, he thought, when he was done with this.
        O but how many in their solitude weep aloud like me--
                        On the bridge over the Republican River
                                    almost in tears to know
                                                how to speak the right language--
                        on the frosty broad road
                                    uphill between highway embankments
                        I search for the language
                                                that is also yours--
                                    almost all our language has been taxed by war.

-- Allen Ginsberg, Wichita Vortex Sutra

Sep 21, 2009

Sometimes yes
A few words on an American rabble

I wish they did seem alien. I wish I saw them and was startled, not knowing what I was seeing and assessing it immediately as freakish, strange, maybe funny and most certainly unserious. Green with two heads. Alien. Having nothing to do with me. Instead I feel like I know them. I feel responsible. I feel like a man watching his mother wander around senile, without clothes. I feel like an older brother, moved out and on, whose family is now in the news as a deprivation case, or an immigrant always feeling like he has to explain why his people are "like that." They are my people, even if I never wanted it that way. And now I'm overwhelmed by this: I couldn't protect them.

I spent a good portion of last week depressed. I watched the 9/12 marchers, like I watched the birthers and the tea baggers, the town hall shouters and take-our-country backers, and I was depressed. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to sit somewhere silent, sit for a long time. I saw wave upon wave of fear, and a froth of anger. I saw paranoia, hysteria, and hatred. I saw history perverted and misinterpreted, conservatism and Christianity warped with ideology and politics and power. And mostly with fear. I saw a lot of fear, fear that foams up in panic, fear fed on whispers, fear that fuels a hysteria that knows no doubt and is raving, raving, raving.

And I feel responsible. It's insane to think I could say anything, but I feel like I should have walked up to the marchers to say something, waded in to where they were making signs or stood up in some meeting before the march and said let us not succumb or be overcome with fear. I imagine it, though, and I know I would have to convince them I was them and they wouldn't recognize me, couldn't recognize me and I would want to say we must be calm, we must be charitable, we must be better but instead I would stutter listen! like the owe me that. But they don't, though. And they won't hear, and don't have too, and just because I feel some connection to them doesn't mean they don't see me as alien. Or a traitor.

Maybe I'm just remembering things, the scenes of signs connecting to a past that still lingers like guilt. Maybe I made up this responsibility. No one gave it to me. Maybe I'm stuck with memories I should have disowned instead of letting them fester.

A scene I remember: It's 1992. October or maybe November, Fall but before Thanksgiving. I am 11. We are in Texas. The Christians are very conservative and also apocalyptic. A woman in a denim dress says to another woman (both of them with their hair in buns and also, I think, one was holding a hoe): Well, she says at least when Clinton's in the White House maybe all the Christians could be jailed together.

I remember this like a New Yorker cartoon. A single panel. One woman speaking to the other, and it's not funny, but I wonder if maybe it was intended that way. The more I consider, the stranger the statement seems.

Another scene I remember: 1999. Fall again. It must of been, or maybe early winter. Washington. The convention hall is filled with guns, filled like it fills every few months for the show, guns and guns and guns and gear and flags and books, politics, and cynicism. A fear: If you sign anything, the FBI will know you were here. Most people pay with cash. A video, looped and playing endlessly in the middle of this sea of weapons, explains how to make your semi-autos fully auto. The video says it's legal if you buy it today.

I remember shelves of borrowed Bircher books and the way the snow fell on unpaved roads. I remember how Rush Limbaugh sounded at noon on the radio plugged into the outlet by the light switch in the barn, the bumper music announcing lunch, cheese and tomato sandwiches wrapped in a bread bag.

I think of John Quade, but can't remember his name. I look him up and see he's recently died. He was an actor who played very American villains who always seemed like men I knew: blue collar thugs, the bikers, hard hatters, the gruff and scary old white men who worked with their hands. He played a sheriff in "Roots," and a lot of Western heavies and bad guys in Clint Eastwood movies. When I knew John Quade, I was 16 or 17 and we briefly went to the same church. He was physically frightening, burly and bearded, and his skin was so pockmarked it gave the impression his face was deformed. He was scary, but so were most of the men I knew, and, like them too, he was soft spoken, mostly quiet, and maybe even humble. He was and they were gentle, loving children and wives and always too aware of how hard the world was out there, even if they were never really aware of how they helped make it that way. When I knew John Quade -- enough, anyway, to hear him talk -- he was closely associated with a group that believed "human being" was a secular and evil term, that last names were non-Christian, that there were no such thing as Civil Rights, that America was already under martial law, that joining the bar as a lawyer meant joining an anti-American conspiracy, and that names in capital letters in legal documents meant individuals were turned into corporation. He would talk about it. His speech was "Christianity and Common Law." The group was mostly self educated on old law books.

Self education is a very American thing. Good and bad. It means Abraham Lincoln became president. It means public libraries in every community in the country. But it also means that in America, we have a whole subculture of people sure they've debunked Einstein. It also means creationists and people who think they have disproven the moon landings. It means conspiracy theories, with the logic of if-it-could-be-true-it-must-be-true, and hysteria, paranoia, and a misunderstanding of the differences between totalitarian regimes, a misunderstanding of what's free about the free market, and history and economics and culture all filtered through a few political points.

In America, with some self education, anyone can grow up to be president, and also anyone can grow up to come up with a conspiracy about the president being illegitimate.

Glenn Beck was self educated. Which might part of why he seems so familiar. He does. With his inconsistencies and self-effacement, his rhetorical moves and YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!, even his sound effects and defensive sense of humor, he seems like someone who would have frustrated me at Thanksgivings and Bible studies. But so does Sarah Palin. I want her to seem like a freak, to seem strange and unheard of, but instead she seems like she could be one of the women I grew up around. She's somehow sheltered from reality and untouched by uncertainty, not really knowing what she says. I do know these people. They are my people, even if they don't really want it that way. And I'm embarrassed for them, and I am silently repeating please stop, please stop, no, please, please stop.

It's not like any of them ever listened to me though: Not in the Bible study where I was told that Saddam Hussein was prophesied in Revelation, nor when a woman said Dr. Suess was about drugs; not when I tried to say George W. Bush wasn't conservative or that cutting welfare always means more abortions; not when the young Republicans argued the women and children of WIC were lazy and deserved no help and not when the College Republicans said conservatives should trust the president as he pushed us into war. Not when I tried to say conspiracy was unlikely, or economics was complicated, not when I tried to say ideology was a sin and the principle of charity was important. Not when I said wait a minute. Or calm down.

I'm not even a conservative anymore, and haven't been in some time, so I don't know why I feel this way. Responsible. And helpless. I watch those marchers, though, hear these rantings, see the signs, and say to myself, fuck. Fuck. I should've said something to save them from themselves.

Sep 18, 2009

It didn't feel like Indian Summer

The street was silent. The stairs didn't squeak. The lights were off and no one said anything. The woman breathed, but that was all. On the phone she had said "OK" but now, here, I sat looking at her as she sat looking at her hands. We sat like that for a long time.

"He was a good boy," she finally said.

"You speak of him in the past tense."

"Well," she said, "he is dead."

Then we were silent again.

Sep 16, 2009

Rituals with which we avoid

The death of David Foster Wallace, one year later
Republicans have been like this for awhile now
Darwin film too controversial for US Christians?
Culture of personal crisis has radicalized right
Science was a muse to inspire romantic art
Don't tell me what 9/12 means, Glen Beck
The complicated heroism of Pat Tillman
The best Southern non-fiction of all time
The John Dingell health care legacy
The best Southern novels of all time
Stories of Michigan full of despair
Inside an ambush in Afghanistan
Derrida and speculative realism
The creation of Charles Darwin
German politics: Yes we yawn
The 9/11 anniversary racket
The truth about bestsellers
Half the Sky, a manifesto
Boxers before and after
William Trevor talks
Teleology and evolution
Portnoy's Complaint at 40
Neil Patrick Harris is a magician
Walt Whitman as shoot and aim
Drudge's relevance faded and gone
Michael Pollan reads Wendell Berry
Charles Bukowski and the computer
The evolution of the Origin of Species
Physicist investigates Wagner's opera
What's the problem with the 9/11 novels?
Osama bin Laden's suggested reading list
An impolite interview with Shel Silverstein
E.L. Doctorow's Homer & Langley chapter 1
Listening to Lester Young, by John Ashberry
A new age of literacy -- brought to you be txt
The Evolution of God is Creationism for liberals
The problem with all these shows with the hero cop
Harun Yahya, Muslim creationist, cult leader and charlatan
Dear Mr. President Bush, please take responsibility for torture
How liberal can win by losing in the conservative Supreme Court
Questions raised by rights group's analyst's Nazi memorabilia collection
Reviewers reveal attitudes towards the midwest in reviews of Lorrie Moore

Sep 14, 2009

What Wade would write in his letters

The machine gun was mounted by the swimming pool. The sandbags were stacked there, cross-tied like bricks, and the gun was mounted up on a swivel and pointed down the hill, taking in the orchard and the road.

Wade had burned all his government documents in the grill out there, squirting lighter fluid on his drivers license and social security card, birth certificate and a whole file of documentation for the taxes he'd paid. It'd been a little ritual, a declaration that he was now a free man. A Common Law Christian. Pro Se. For Himself. With all the rights and responsibilities pursuant to his own life, which was given by the Creator and not within the jurisdiction of the government or any secular, civil authority. He'd had meetings out there, too, with the group, by the pool and the grill and the gun, drinking beer and sharing news and predictions about when the new world order would come. He'd had his grandkids out there to swim in the pool, and he'd watched them run around with their swimmies on, flinging themselves screaming into the pool. He'd drink his beer and laugh at the grandkids, mad at the son-in-law who wouldn't ever come out to the family things and ignoring the one who came but lurked in the living room and always seemed scared of Wade with his beard and his mounted gun. But most of the time, when he was out there, he was by himself. He liked to watch the way the sun set over Bakersfield. The dirty city and the desert sky together made the sunset more violent, and he liked to watch the streaks of orange and the way the purple would rise up from the earth to fill the sky, the evening reddening as the bats began to fly and the machine gun was turned into a mounted silhouette.

But then things changed. Times changed. He changed. The 90s ended and the new world order never came. The towers fell and everything was different. Now his grandson was serving in a tank division and Wade was insanely proud of that. He hadn't felt like that since when he was a kid and his dad told him about fighting in France in WWII. Like he was an American. In was weird how different things were now. He didn't feel like he was the last man standing anymore and it all seemed like an interlude, an odd but passing period, a little like having a car with a problem that you couldn't figure out, consuming and never-ending and also easily forgotten. His daughter was packing weekly care packages to send to Iraq, and Wade was writing letters, writing a little every afternoon. While he wrote he looked out at the pool, cluttered with leaves, and thought about how to say what he'd learned. He didn't want to sound like an old man. He was careful, pausing over his pad, looking up, out the window, and looking at the machine gun on the swivel.

He didn't want to say he was embarrassed by it, but it lacked any context now. He didn't know, though, how to say what the context really was. He tried to write extremism in defense of liberty but it seemed wrong and he crossed it out. This was more like looking at a historic party hat with a propeller and trying to explain that. Except, of course, it was a machine gun he'd mounted by the pool where his grandchildren played during the longest period of prosperity in history. It was rusting there now, a relic, titled up at the sky.
Wochenmarkt !

Purple flowers in a pile

Sep 12, 2009

The date now known as a date that has no place in years

Before it happened, before it ever happened or could have happened even, we had imagined it all in our minds. We had seen it. And known it. And it was familiar to us and like a birthday party where when the cake came and the song was being sung we knew we had known this and this song was oddly off or misremembered and was this the tune? It was strangely like last time, was it last year, but and we had this memory of birthdays before and candles and were they put out at the end? Was that how this would end?

There was this image of smoke and dissipation.

After it happened, after it was over and gone and never could happen again that we wouldn't connect it to this and say remember? It's just like when ____. And then we had already seen it. We had already, even if this was the first time. It was weird and like the mystery of the Mona Lisa where the real one wasn't as real as the reproductions, and it wasn't the reality but the imitatable ambiguity that was bothering us anyway with this obliqueness that was or must have somehow been in us. We had seen it and seen it and seen it all as if our seeing made it so, and so we stared on unsettled. And we started at the yolks of our eggs as they ran the next morning.

Sep 11, 2009


Stephen searching for German words he knows

Sep 9, 2009

"Dust stanched the wet and naked heads of the scalped who with the fringe of hair below their wounds and tonsured to the bone now lay like maimed and naked monks in the bloodslaked dust and everywhere the dying groaned and gibbered and the horses lay screaming. "

-- Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian

One NY rest stop
Rockabillies today
Death of one Marine
Photo of one dead Marine
Nihil Unbound is now a PDF
T.S. Eliot kept his day job
The top 10 books on Lenin
Brazil's health care system
Neil Gaiman's bookshelves
Talking with Richard Russo
Comedians in the 70s in LA
Norman Mailer, 2 years dead
Recession and the arms trade
The posters of American Labor
American Govt: American opera
James Ellroy: Beethoven fanatic
Early review rips Letham's latest
Full grown boy, lost in Las Vegas
Looking at the fire lookout towers
The tabloid right's World Net Daily
Darwin slant on the Obama slogan
Seeking an apology for Alan Turing
The fights in the Frida Kahlo industry
Reclaiming the concept of commune
David Foster Wallace turned into film
Another way that torture doesn't work
Read an excerpt of Blood's a Rover
James Ellroy talks up Blood's a Rover
Graphic novel about a boy without a voice
Moby Dick and the Baader Meinhof gang
Spike Jonze and Where the Wild Things Are
Experiments in multi-generational music
Goatee: icon of the new evangelicalism
Redesigned covers for Raymond Carver
The business of impersonating presidents
A novel about poetry that is about poetry
Obama and the problem of over-correction
J.M coetzee's conversation with alter egos
Regrets of a former "young William Faulkner"
Chess master loses game to drinking problem
Nick Cave's new novel: Death of a Ladies Man
Canadian's anti-Hutterite ruling misses the point
Lorrie Moore's latest is a novel about lies of all kinds
20th century Amer. lit and the question of MFA programs
Nick Hornby sort of celebrates the demise of record stores
A movie about adult women struggling to express their gifts
The Office's Jim Halpert adapts David Foster Wallace to film
What a city needs: The battle between Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs
Between pop-up art and a visual poem, book recreates architectural space
The reading list of suspected terrorists: Harry Potter, Don Quixote, Barack Obama
The disappearing of a journalist's story about Russia, Chechnya, suspicious of subterfuge
Incest, rape, murder, lies, fratricide, genocide, lust, bloodlust, revenge and mass murder: R. Crumb does the beginning of the Bible

Sep 7, 2009


That piece really does represent the worst of KtB: snide self-confidence, a sense of superiority and aren’t-I-sophisticated. Ms. [Becky] Garrison leads us in a reaffirmation of her own cultured orthodoxy in the praying of the prayer “thank God I’m not like them.” It’s gracelessness. It’s very fundamentalist. Really, we’re going to scoff at other people’s understandings and misunderstandings of God? What’s the value in that, except to make us feel better by comparison to the idiots we scorn? We’re going to call them names? “Christian cockroaches,” “summer salvationists” and “faith flies”?

Read the full letter letter and the subsequent controversy at Killing the Buddha.
What makes good neighbors
Selling points

Shit, said the man with the needle, I wouldn't get a tattoo anywhere but America.

Not even Europe?

Hell no.


No way. Man, I saw a girl come in here with her dad, had a butterfly on her lowerback. It was GREEN. Swoll up and green. I was like, shit. He said she got it in France. I was like, well, they didn't sterilize the needle. You can tell, looking at it. She says no, they did it right. They steralized it right there and I watched them. I said yeah, well how'd they do it? She said they took it out of the wrapper and they put it the microwave for 30 seconds.

Wow. The microwave?

Shit man, said the man with the needle. It was infected bad too. You want a tattoo, you ought to get it right here. You can't trust just anybody.

Sep 4, 2009

No mercy

We imagined him drunk in a Wisconsin cabin, I guess. Drowning in swill. We thought he would be raving even when no one was there to listen, like the hatred had eaten his brain and he would be spying on the mailman and yelling at squirrels, suspecting they were perverts.

I'm not saying we thought about it. It was just the idea we had.

Like he would watch WWII documentaries all day, and spit when he talked to himself. Always mad. Always red in the face. Always alone, too. I just didn't think anyone that hateful could really have kids around that loved him and a wife that would take care of him when he was sick. That was just his public persona. It was just the impression. He was hateful. He wasn't just bigoted, he was viscous. He would berate you, and-and-and humiliate you and destroy you. Do you remember that speech? No mercy. No mercy. No mercy and no compromises in the war for our way of life. That was what we knew from all the press conferences and speeches and the way he always was. Always.

It wasn't just when the cameras were on. No. I remember, one time, being at a dinner. I think it was a think tank dinner, maybe a fundraiser or something. I don't -- don't remember. They always have these dinners in DC, expensive things you have to go to and someone talks and they always serve you like buttered asparagus or something, and it's good but never as good as they want you to think it is? It was one of those. I went to a lot of those when I was in public policy for the insurance company. I just remember -- he wasn't talking, but he was there. I saw him, and this was a few years after he was really in the spotlight but he was still a congressman, still sitting on committees and speaking and everything. So he was at this dinner. Some guy's giving a speech, and it's not as good as you're supposed to think it is but everyone's applauding like drunken bonobos. I look over and see the congressman. He's got his fork and he's repeatedly stabbing his beef eye fillet. Over and over, just stabbing and stabbing the life out of his medium rare. And the whole time, he's saying "faggot faggot faggot faggot."

I have no idea. None. Maybe it was the speaker? In the closet or something? But then how would he know? I don't know. Don't know. He was so mad, though. Just spittle-flecked rage. Everyone else in there is laughing at jokes that weren't funny, applauding and having standing ovations for overdone talking points, and here he is, completely rabid.

That's what I expected when we went up there. Maybe, too, you know, we needed to think of him like that. Like, he'd been so destructive, so hateful, so really completely vicious, that I needed to believe it had -- uhhm -- that he had carried all that around inside. That that hate had hurt him. Like cancer, or a calcification, an ulcer that ate him up inside. I thought the hate would be like permanent constipation. I remember when he exposed my partner, during the hearing, effectively ruining Aaron's career without even knowing the good work he was doing, just pfffft, I remember I had this image of his liver. His liver. There was this spot, like a hole? Like a hole where light like through a magnifying glass was burning. The hole in his liver was larger and larger, like the hole was spreading, and all his insides, his viscus, you know, were twisted and withered black.

We all knew he drank. It wasn't any secret. We used to joke about it.

No, he invited us in. I don't know, I guess, we had these assumptions but I hadn't really thought, would he invite us in. He was wearing slippers. He made us tea. There were like toy rakes in the yard, from where his grandkids had been playing in the leaves. It wasn't what I was expecting. It's not that I thought it out or could have told you want I was expecting -- it was him, and, I mean, I knew it was him and Aaron even said, "We remember all the hateful things you've done," but the hate was gone. Just leaked out. He just looked sad. He said he was sorry. He didn't even do it like the, if you've been offended by anything I've done. He just said, "I'm sorry. I'm really sorry." I didn't know what to do with that.

We just left. Yeah. We argued about that in the motel. We drove all the way to Wisconsin and then we just left. I had wanted to shoot him so bad. I used to hold the gun and think about him bleeding from the throat. But I couldn't do it. I couldn't. I guess he'll die from the prostrate, now, but I won't feel any better.

Sep 2, 2009

Everybody dances

Best of Wikipedia
Doctorow review
Read-to-me Tuesdays
Riding a French train
Poster art for green Iran
Understanding Oakeshott
The forever war reporter
Why the Beatles broke up
T.C. Boyle on John Cheever
The face on the dollar bill
Highway serial killing initiative
Experimental Luddite summer
Before Ted Kennedy was a lion
Visual history of the Soviet Union
Photos of the Burning Man festival
Profile of a modern-day hanging judge
Venn diagram of mythical creatures
(Transgendered) Cowboys for Christ
Raymond Chandler's imagined city
The thing between Brooks and Obama
School assigns "the books you like"
Photos of a country not always at war
Who was America's 1st serial killer?
Interview with William S. Burroughs
The Kennedy who most changed America
Brian Jones' death to be re-investigated
The thing between Brooks and Obama
Recession on the Navajo reservation blues
Paris Review interview with John Cheever
Remembering Western writer Elmer Kelton
An almost lost memoir of the Spanish Civil War
Remembering Lester Young, the 'Prez' of Jazz
The myth of Hermann and the birth of a nation
McCain condemns Cheney's torture program
Following John Kerry at the Kennedy funeral
Gen. Sherman's pyromanic treatment of Atlanta
Graham Greene's unfinished murder mysteries
Photography assignment: Ted Kennedy's burial
German academics suspected of Ph.D. bribery
The sometimes-religious practice of questioning
David Goldblatt: The camera is not a machine gun
Orwell 70 years ago: Invasion of Poland this morning
Rashi and the idea of a Jewish emphasis on commentary
The outline for Gay Talese's 'Frank Sinatra Has a Cold'
Uneasy spaces: photos of security, territorality and fear
Six arrested, charged with attempting to steal US border fence
A conspiracy (can you count the missing letters in "oligarchy"?)
Edward Rondthaler, phonetics proponent, dies at 104. May he rest in peace.