November 20, 2006


Brush then floss, because I never gave it a moment's thought.
Brush then floss, b/c toothpaste says "brush and floss daily" and since I can't brush and floss at the same time, I assume it meant "brush THEN floss"
Floss then brush, b/c flossing loosens up the plaque between my teeth so my brush can scrub it away
Floss then brush, because flossing is by far the worst part of my nighttime routine and I like to get it out of the way
Brush only; flossing is bullshit
Other (please explain below)
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November 19, 2006

Infinite Jerks

Last Thursday, I went to a book reading in SoHo celebrating the 10th anniversary of the publication of the novel Infinite Jest. The organizers probably didn't even bother inviting the author, David Foster Wallace, because it's clear to anyone who knows or even feels like they know him that he would never come to something like this.

Instead, the bill featured some of Wallace's former editors, a couple of critics, the head writer from The Onion, and John Krasinski, the handsome-in-a-clumsy-sort-of-way co-star of NBC's The Office. The implication being that the head writer from The Onion and John Krasinski are big fans of Infinite Jest.

And but so the event wasn't much of a book reading at all. Three people read short passages from IJ, while the critics sat around and critiqued stuff for a while. The Onion guy brought his ex-editor-in-chief (and ex-girlfriend) along, and rather than talk about IJ, they decided to read, in tandem, the painfully unfunny article one of them wrote a few years ago about a breakup letter David Foster Wallace wrote to his girlfriend.

(Curmudgeonly aside about The Onion: the aforelinked article is a prime example of one of those articles that takes one funny idea, distills it into a mildly amusing headline, then spends the rest of the article retelling the same joke in different and progressively worse ways. Making matters worse, the article is one of those where if it's funny at all, it's only funny to someone who's familiar with David Foster Wallace. But the thing is, anyone who's read any Wallace will recognize that the article is nothing but a flaccid, meritless imitation.

And yet the attendees at Thursday's "Jest Fest" loved the article. Why? Because they were familiar with D.F.W., they felt a surge of pride in being part of the tiny audience at which the article was aimed. Group identification: they laughed because they got the joke, not because the joke was funny. Like that little fish Christians used to draw in the dirt, the article serves merely as a password, an identifying label, which fellow club members can read and remind themselves that they're members of that particular club. It's completely artless.)

In short, the Onion guy was only there to promote his stupid newspaper.

And John Krasinski was even worse. He hung out in the back so he could walk, star-like, down the aisle to the lectern while everyone looked in awe at his messy hair. So he shows up and admits right off the bat that he "can't remember" if he ever finished reading Infinite Jest. Then after making a couple of completely incoherent jokes, he says he'd feel stupid talking about IJ in front of so many smart people, so he's going to read a passage from another of Wallace's books, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, instead. This is frustrating enough by itself- this was an Infinite Jest party, not a Wallace party. But then Krasinski casually mentions that he's currently adapting this latter book into a film.

I suppose I was always aware that stars go to these events to promote themselves. And that's fine. But I didn't expect the self-promotion to be so...naked. It was enough to make me wish I kept a bullshit diary.

November 14, 2006

Explain this to me

Have you ever noticed how people use "fishy" as a reason for not liking fish? E.g., someone will say, "yeah I'm not a big trout fan. It's a little too fishy for my taste."

What the fuck does that mean? How can you not like something for doing its job perfectly? This toast is just too toasty? I had to send my hamburger back because it was too meaty? No one would fucking say that shit.

Have you heard the new Stones album? I don't really like it. I think it rocks a little too hard.

November 11, 2006

The ol' mailbag

Loyal fan and longtime reader Algernon Krueger recently took time out of his busy schedule to write me a thought-provoking email. The subject of his email was "glorified pollinate" and boy did he have a lot to say!
Alvin says 'Heidi and I are reading machines'. Topping the list is Meg Whitman, the Chairman and CEO of eBay.
She is the Queen of boogie piano.
See how common life events became Blues slang.
A divine melange of flavours and mouth-melting textures that I couldn't rate more highly.
This dog says "What an amazing degustation menu that was! The last thing I want to do is freak the interviewer out. Most winners are in the two specific Blues categories, Traditional and Contemporary, but the.
Us Weekly reports that according to several sources the two have been split for close to two months.
I also make sure that my cape is long to create aerodynamic lift but short enough to show off my ass. This dog says "What an amazing degustation menu that was!
If you know what's good for you and your pet's jaded palate, you will enrol yourself in a dog food cookery class faster than it takes for Lindsay Lohan to break up with her newest boyfriend.
Thanks for writing, Algernon! As you know, I don't have time to respond to all my email, but I felt yours deserved a personal reply. First of all, I had no idea Meg Whitman, Chairman and CEO of eBay, was also the Queen of boogie piano. How interesting! And I would LOVE to know more about how common life events became Blues slang. PLEASE elaborate on this; I can't sleep for thinking about it!!

But let's get to the meat of your email. I've often wondered what dogs really think about the food we give them- and now I know! To be honest, I don't know what "degustation" means, but then again, I'm not exactly fluent in Dog!! In fact, I don't even own a dog (thanks to my bitch girlfriend). However, if I ever get one, I'll be sure to enroll in a dog food cookery class faster know.

Thanks again for writing. Don't you dare lose my address!

ps. What's the deal with your cape? I hate to be judgmental, but that's pretty fucked up.

November 6, 2006

fuck that, man

Time Out New York is a popular local magazine that's basically an upscale version of TV Guide- it publishes weekly, runs a few articles, but devotes the bulk of its pages to listing all the cultural events happening in the city that week. The current issue poses the question, "Are you a real New Yorker?" and invites the reader to "prove it" by taking its extremely long and irritating quiz. (Which I don't recommend actually taking.)

Like most magazine quizzes, this one indexes your numerical score to some kind of unfunny description of your performance. (For example, a score of 15-30 might mean "don't quit your day job" and 31-50 "pretty good, college boy".) Being dumb, uncultured, and new to the city, I did horribly on the quiz, and T.O.N.Y. told me "the suburbs called; they want you back".

Clearly I don't need a magazine to tell me I suck, but that isn't the point. What bothers me is the transparent elitism. If you're a real New Yorker, TONY says, you can identify every building in Manhattan by the ding of its elevators, and if you can't you're an uncouth knuckle-dragger who might as well stick to college football watching and Kansas living and cousin fucking.

This attitude stands in sharp contrast to the romantic ideal of NYC as roiling melting pot/brilliant mosaic. Whichever metaphor you choose, each obviously implies a willingness to accept outsiders, as in the whole Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty/"give us your tired, your poor" thing from elementary school.

The people of NYC are, by and large, incredibly liberal. Many are outspoken critics of the Bush administration's burgeoning isolationism. But at the same time, TONY suggests, NYC is every bit as happy to look down on the rest of the country as the US is to look down on the rest of the world. In fairness, I don't mean to suggest that TONY speaks for all New Yorkers. But for whatever segment of the population enjoyed the quiz, I can't help but wonder if there isn't some serious hypocrisy going on here: Imagine if The National Review put out an issue asking "Are you a real American?" New York would be outraged.