catching up is hard to do

I’ve been ignoring my email for the past week, so I’m trying to get caught up today, the last day of my vacation… Here are a few of the highlights so far.

Collin sent me a link to a story about an upcoming art exhibition on the subject of OCD. It’s taking place in Boston and opens May 19. The show includes the works of about ten artists. Most, it seems, are sorters and organizers, artists who create images by obsessively collecting and then grouping like-colored objects to form shapes. There’s someone, for instance, who creates large, realistic images with M&M’s… There are, however, a few folks who combine their OCD and their art a bit differently. One man apparently will be in the studio, just popping bubble wrap. That’s apparently his compulsion, and he considers it art. Another man will be showing images of people’s bottoms. He apparently feels as though he has to walk around, following people, and snapping ass photos… In case you’re interested, no one contacted me about being in the show. I guess they didn’t think that my performance piece, “Man Worrying about Being Hit by Falling Tree Limbs,” would be compelling enough. (If you’d like to see that one, by the way, just come to Ypsi any evening at about 7:00 and look for the man looking up with a worried expression on his face.)

Speaking of not being asked to participate in a cool project, I just got a note from a woman that I know. Her name is Bonnie Burton and she publishes a magazine called Grrl. She wanted to let me know that she’s just released a book called Never Threaten to Eat Your Co-Workers: The Best of Blogs. As much as it hurts me to say it, and in spite of the fact that she didn’t ask me to be a part of it, it does look really entertaining, and she’s got some good people onboard, like Wil Wheaton and Heather Armstrong. So, I’m sure that it’s worth the money, and, if I were you, I’d probably buy it… Of course, I’m not you, I’m me – which means that I’ll mope around bitter and angry about not being included for about a month before actually buying a copy. When I do eventually buy it though, I know I’ll love it.

Let’s see? what else is in the In Box?.

Mr. Smallwood wrote in to tell me about a writing class being taught in West Hollywood this June by Joyce Maynard, the once skinny Yale coed who had some sort of disturbing, prolonged sexual encounter with JD Salinger a few decades ago… I wish I was back in LA to take the class. I’d love to be able to walk up to her and ask a question beginning with, “Just between me and you, as one Maynard to another Maynard…”

I forget where I did it – maybe it was in an old issue of Crimewave – but I recall taking the front flap of her book on the time she spent with Salinger and changing all the mentions of “Joyce” to “Mark,” so that it told the story of a skinny and attractive Mark Maynard being lured from the ivy league into the bed of his favorite author. I need to find that.

Alas, Salinger has never written to me, commented on my looks, or asked me to visit. I do, however, have a letter around here somewhere that he, or someone else in his home, scrawled “Return” on. It’s one of my most prized possessions.

While we’re on a roll, talking abut my shortcomings and such, I thought that you might like to know that I ran in to one of my favorite musicians on Saturday evening and blew the chance to interview him for Crimewave. The musician was Dexter Romweber, formerly of the Flat Duo Jets, and I was just too tired to even consider it. (I’d just left the studio where I was recording with my band when I ran into him.) We talked briefly about his tour and stuff, and I got the sense that he would have been up for an interview, but I just couldn’t do it. I felt really old at that moment. (I went home to bed while my pregnant wife went out to see him play. How pathetic is that?)

So, let’s see, where else did I fuck up, or what else wasn’t I good enough to participate in this last week? Hmmmmm… Well, I guess that’s about it. If I think of anything else, I’ll let you know.

Oh, here, before I go up to fix the toilet (it won’t stop running), is a story from the Russian newspaper Pravda that alludes to American bloodlust. Here’s a clip:

In the meantime, according to a recently conducted poll, nearly 70% of Americans in the US support the idea of public broadcast of Saddam’s execution. 21% of Americans are even willing to pay for watching Osama bin Laden being executed. Another 11% would like to enjoy watching the last moments of Hussein”s life. So there you have it, a democratic society with experience.

Pravda, which is pretty much the Russian answer to our Weekly World News, is rarely right about these things though, so don’t go buying that ticket to Canada just yet. I just thought that it was worth noting.

Here, in case you didn’t believe me about that Weekly World News analogy, is another example of fine Russian reporting from Pravda. This one was just sent to me by Doug Skinner. It’s about an elderly woman who finds a space alien in a cemetery and takes it home to raise as her child. Here’s a clip:

Huge eyes were staring at her out of the closest grave mound. The pensioner approached the grave and saw a strange creature about 25 centimeters in height. This was not a human being.

Tiny onion-shaped head looked like it was composed of five petals. The little creature had no ears, huge slanting catlike eyes occupied the biggest part of its face. The creature could not talk, but it started whistling quietly to attract the lady’s attention. Probably in this manner the alien was communicating in its planet.

The pensioner took the creature to her place. At home she started examining the alien. The body of Aleshenka (the diminutive name she gave to the creature) was plump and was swaying like jelly. The skin on the body was gray and with dark spots in brown on the head. No hair, small holes instead of ears. Small flat nose enabled the creature to breath.

Dark-gray eyes. No eye-lids. The vertical pupils of the eyes were constantly narrowing and expanding.

Long fingers had small sharp claws. No genitals revealing creature’s sex. The creature had no navel which all mammals have.

The woman could not figure out how to feed Aleshenka. Its mouth resembled a tiny hole and had no lips, but it could stretch itself widely. The alien had a complete set of teeth, but too small lower jaw and huge scarlet tongue occupying almost all the mouth cavity disturbed chewing process for it. Tamara Vasilievna put a caramel candy into the creature”s mouth, and the alien started sucking the candy. The lady was gave Aleshenka some milk and water with a tea-spoon.

Now, to fix that toilet. Good night… And, yes, I will be adding Aleshenka to the list of possible baby names.

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