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* * * The Rosy Crucifixion II * * *

Posted by Web Manager on May 19, 2011

Suddenly he realized that he had collected an audience. “Go home!” he shouted, raising both arms to shoo the crowd away. “Are we selling shoelaces here? What is it with you? Must I rent a hall to speak a few words in private to a friend? This is not Russia. Go home . . . shoo!” And again he brandished his arms.

No one budged. They simply smiled indulgently. Apparently they knew him well, this Nahoum Yood. One of them spoke up in Yiddish. Nahoum Yood gave us a sad complacent sort of smile and looked at us helplessly.

“They want that I should recite to them something in Yiddish.”

“Fine, I said, “why don’t you.”

He smiled again, sheepishly this time. “they are like children,” he said.  “Wait, I will tell them a fable. You know what is a fable, don’t you? This is a fable about a green horse with three legs. I can only tell it in Yiddish . . . you will excuse me.”

The moment he began talking Yiddish his whole countenance changed.  He put on such a serious, mournful look that I thought he would burst into tears any moment. But when I looked at his audience I saw that they were chuckling and giggling.  The more serious and mournful his expression, the more jovial his listeners grew. Finally they were doubled up with laughter.  Nahoum Yood never so much as cracked a smile. He finished with a dead-pan look in the midst of gales of laughter.

“Now,” he said, turning his back on his audience and grasping us each by the arm, “now we will go somewhere and hear some music. I know a little place on Hester Street, in a cellar. Roumanian gypsies.  We will have a little wine and some Mysterium, yes? You have money? I have only twenty three cents.” He smiled again, this time like a huge cranberry pie.

– from Plexus, by Henry Miller

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* * * Chocolate Birthday Cake * * *

Posted by Web Manager on October 23, 2009

best birthday cake everby tamuz bar, october 16, 2009.

thank you.

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** ** AYO! ** **

Posted by Web Manager on June 5, 2009

AYO!

What’s happening to A.O. Scott?  He used to be a glass is half full kind of reviewer, but no longer.  He’s mad as all hell and I don’t know why. He’s not dissing good movies or being unfair (check out  his dead-on review of Sam Mendes’ new film AWAY WE GO in which Scott pretty much sums up everything that’s wrong about Sam Mendes (not to mention Dave Eggers)), but something’s got his goat.  Get well soon old sport!

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* * * The Echo Maker * * *

Posted by Web Manager on June 5, 2009

I just finished this novel by Richard Powers, who it turns out, is a fellow Illini.   ECHO MAKER is pretty awesome – I read it in like three days.  It takes place in Nebraska.  Peace.

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Hey YO Ya

Posted by Web Manager on April 6, 2009

Kaveret rocks the shit, 1973.

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*** Print / More BATAILLE ***

Posted by Web Manager on March 16, 2009

ruscha-tel-pole

” . . . no tie ever binds me, never am I enslaved, subjugated, I always retain my sovereignty, a sovereignty only death – which will demonstrate my inability to limit myself to being without excess – separates from me. I do not decline, I do not challenge consciousness, lacking which I cannot write, but this hand that writes is dying from the death promised unto it as its own, this hand escapes the limits it accepts in writing (limits accepted by the hand that writes, but refused by the hand that dies).”

Georges Bataille, from his preface to MADAME EDWARDA

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* * * Rabbit, Run * * *

Posted by Web Manager on March 7, 2009

As a posthumous tribute to John Updike I re-read his novel Rabbit, Run. It didn’t make an impression on me the first time I read it, but this time it did. Especially the ending — especially the very end of the ending. The language still felt a little strange to me, like a song I don’t altogether like, whose details somehow lessen the impact of the melody as a whole. But then often there’s a kicker, and with it, that feeling of being confronted with the kind of truth that Makes Reading Fun.

“Water hesitates on his lids and then runs down his cheeks; the wetness is delicious. He wishes he could cry for hours, for just this tiny spill relieves him. But a man’s tears are grudging and his stop before they are out of the apartment. As he closes the door he feels he has spent his whole life opening and closing this door.”

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*** Journalism I Read Pt II ***

Posted by Web Manager on February 15, 2009

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Michael Lewis is on a roll, having written a book almost twenty years ago called LIAR’S POKER about greed and confusion on Wall Street. Now he is widely regarded as the best business journalist in America. I don’t know about any of that, but this article he wrote for the NYTIMES MAGAZINE about how statistics play a weird and often misguided role in professional basketball – and why Houston Rocket Shane Battier’s game perfectly demonstrates the new approach to statistics – is fantastic.

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*** Inspirational Journalism ***

Posted by Web Manager on December 21, 2008

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NY TIMES MAGAZINE PIECE ON PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN

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* Blue of Noon *

Posted by Web Manager on October 22, 2008

Georges Bataille 1935

“To a greater or lesser extent, everyone depends on stories, on novels, to discover the manifold truth of life.  Only such stories, read sometimes in a trance, have the power to confront a person with his fate.  This is why we must keep passionately striving after what constitutes a story: how should we orient our efforts to renew or rather, to perpetuate the novel? 

Many minds are no doubt preoccupied with various techniques that will compensate for the surfeit of familiar forms.  But what is the point in this – assuming that we wish to find out what a novel might be – unless first of all a ground is ascertained and clearly delineated?  A story that reveals the possibilities of life is not necessarily an appeal; but it does appeal to a moment of fury without which its author would remain blind to these possibilities, which are those of excess.  

. . . How can we linger over books to which their authors have manifestly not been driven?”

 — Georges Bataille, from the preface to the 1957 reprinting of his novel The Blue of Noon 

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