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A favourite short story of mine is "Jon" by George Saunders, which ran in the New Yorker a couple of years ago. He's had a couple of pieces run in the magazine since then, which have been okay, and I've read his published shortstory collections, which are highly recommended, though I don't know that any of the single stories were as good as "Jon". Or at least not as good as I remember "Jon" being, since I haven't read it in a few years. I was poking around the web for it a bit, and though the New Yorker's online archives expire after a while, it turns out that it was published as part of a sci-fi anthology, which Amazon.com sells used. So I'll get my hands on that soon.

Update: The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine has a cached copy of the piece, so do go ahead and read it.

I started thinking about Saunders again because he has another short story in this week's New Yorker (which is still available online). The start of the …

On 'toons

Shut up, sea cow. (That was meant to be the post's title, but the anchor tag made it too long.)

Two of my favourite cartoon series from the past are Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist and The Tick. Dr. Katz never made it to DVD (I'm basing this on Amazon.com search results and the number of petitions there are out there to bring the series out; my guess is that "Kozaks Discount," which advertised a DVD of the complete series in my Google search results, is even more disreputable than the name would suggest.

The Tick, while also not out on DVD (at least not the animated version), is now being shown on Toon Disney, which I happily get on my fancy-ass cable setup, and can TiVo to my heart's content. So that's a good thing.

Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom!

Sometimes people forget their briefcases. And their chains. This was directly in front of my office; I made it in before they taped off the front entrance.

The Situation with Tomato Carlson

Timesadvertising advent of the day:

"With the right scanning technology the produce could even be bar-coded with lots of information: where it comes from, who grew it, who picked it, even how many calories it has per serving," said Fred Durand III, president of Durand-Wayland. "You could have a green pepper that was completely covered with coding. Or you could sell advertising space."

Semi-semiotic

If you walk out of my apartment and onto Bergen St., and then walk down Bergen St. a bunch, you'll get to the "The Pintchik Oracle" (or at least you would a year ago; I haven't checked recently). A hardware store on Court St., True Value Bruno's Home Center/American Houseware and Appliance Center (formerly a R.C. church, Our Lady of Excessive Naming Conventions), recently put up a sign of it's own.

It has yet to say anything like "Borough President Marty Markowitz loves Brooklyn." despite the fact that Borough President Marty Markowitz's office is about a hundred feet away from the store. It really hasn't said anything cool in all the times I've walked past it; it usually displays the time and weather, which just reminds me of how I'm late for work and hot. My hope is that Bruno manages to recruit Jonathan Lethem or Paul Auster to do some oracular freelancing, and show Jonathan Safran Foer how we do it in Cobble Hill.

Italics are hurting America, too

In what must qualify as something (irony? the telos of advertising? shamelessness?), MSNBC is running adverts for Tucker "Dick" Carlson's new show (yes, I'm hurting America by just linking to it) on The Daily Show. What do you make of that?

Spoiler alert: the prince's half-blood is blue

This is the first chapter of the new Harry Potter book. It's the first book in the series not to be written in prose, I gather. Don't ask me how I got this–all I can say is it's good to be a former publisher.

[Gargamel laughs and heads off to his castle carrying a big sack over his shoulder. Azrael the cat is with him.]

Greedy Smurf: "Papa Smurf! Gargamel's stolen all of our food and I'm so hungry I could eat a house!"

Papa Smurf: "I'll make something smurfalicous!"

[Papa uses his magic to create four large containers of pasta.]

Smurfette: "What smurfy magic! Look! New Smurf pasta from Chef Boyardee!"

Papa Smurf: "It's smurfy good for you!"

Greedy Smurf: "There's even Papa Smurf's Special Sauce!"

Smurfette: "Wow! Smurfy shapes too!"

Gargamel: "Oooh! Rats! Outsmurfed again!"

All of The Smurfs: [singing] "Thank Goodness for Chef Boyardee!"

Papa Smurf: "It's smurfy good! Let&…

A Review of a Film

When Adam and his sister went down to the BAM Rose cinema last weekend to see Me and You and Everyone We Know I passed, as I seem to recall it getting tepid reviews, and I have a natural, survivalist bias against performance artists. (The writer, director, and star, Miranda July, is a performance artist.)

But Adam liked it a lot, and taking a cue from my Huckabees jihad, embarked on a effort to get, well, everyone he knows to go see it. I agreed, and saw it with him down in Cobble Hill earlier this week.

I do have to agree with Adam (despite any lingering resentment over Huckabees), and say that it was a good movie. It did reaffirm my aversion to performance art, as the scenes in which July videotapes herself doing what I assume is her normal schtick inspired a visceral repulsion (I exaggerate a bit). The rest of the film is a series of vignettes with linked characters and they're usually well done; much of the laughs come from either cute kids talking precociously or outlandish phy…

Even Jeff Gannon got in a few zingers

Yes, Karl Rove is probably not going to get tried for treason. I have no idea whether he'll even get kicked out of the administration, though if he doesn't, that's going to take some Karl Rove-grade spinning. But at the very least, le nom de Plame affaire (is that right, Banana/Sarahs?) has given the White House press corps a spine. It's an amazingly entertaining read–the parts about Rove, I mean.

All your data are belong to us

I sometimes joke about how Google is going to one day own all information, everywhere (they already own my email, planet, and blog, as well as the search results that bring people to 34), but their slogan is "Don't be evil." after all. I am a little disturbed by this, though: I posted a comment on FFH about how much I like Flickr for sharing my photos. Google owns a competing photo sharing suite, Picasa/Hello. (Yahoo! owns Flickr.) After being up for a few hours, long enough for Rich to refer to in his comment, the comment was taking down by the Blogger administrators. Maybe they thought I was a particularly sophisticated spambot shilling for Flickr, but you have to wonder whether a similar comment encouraging people to use Picasa would have been taken down.

Here's the text of my original comment:
Get a (free) Flickr account for sharing your photos. You can do cool things like posting the most recent photos in a little sidebar on your blog like I do, if you want, but …

Happy Birthday, Bananamerica!

Rich's new blog has some hot Fourth of July photos.

Much fun was had.

THQMROTD (GLOAT it ain't)

The staff of 34 happily introduces a new feature: The Times hyperbolic quantum mechanical rhetoric of the day (for lack of an apter-er term). I haven't been proactively been collecting them up until now, but a quick stroll through their free archives uncovers the following:

His (Planck's) work led him to discover a new world, the bizarre realm of quantum mechanics...

Quantum computers are machines based on the principles of quantum mechanics, a branch of physics that describes the quirky world of subatomic particles where both yes and no can simultaneously be true.

But when I once griped about the counterintuitiveness of quantum physics, a scientist at the University of Illinois replied dryly, "Common sense is a poor guide to the nature of reality."

The article on time was rife with them, but they move things into the paid archive so quickly...

On matters spacial

It was maybe last year or the year before, but Bush used some time in his State of the Union address to talk about how we were all going to go to Mars soon. I think it was sandwiched in between $5 billion to fight AIDS in Africa and hydrogen cars on his list of priorities.

I haven't been to Mars yet, and NASA's been subjected to criticism on both sides of the aisle for becoming increasingly irrelevant–there's a greater chance that a creepy rich guy will get you to Mars than NASA. NASA, for their part, is trying to curry favor with the administration's by toeing the "let's blow shit up" party line and, well, blowing shit up.

Personally, I'm looking forward to space elevators, which will be exceptionally cool.