Monday, January 28, 2008

FROM YOUR COMMENTS

BRANDON, from your comments, shares this link, one of my favorite moments in television.

IN CASE YOU were fool enough to believe that words don't matter:



THAT IS ALL

Sunday, January 27, 2008

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT LIVE

(I DID, but I'm glad to have seen it now.)



I REMEMBER once being asked for advice on parenting. Deciding to be sincere about it for once, I simply said: JUST WATCH MR. ROGERS. I could tell you what I think on the subject, or what I've learned from my own experience, but why bother?: EVERYTHING FRED ROGERS KNOWS AND SAYS ABOUT CHILDREN IS CORRECT, and I realize this astonishing fact again, every day.

SO I SAY: just watch.

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

That is all.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

SCRABBLE REPORT


BELATED CONGRATULATIONS to Elaine and Davin, who were extremely good company and beat Oliver and me...

UNFAIR AND SQUARE.

DAVIN TELLS THE TRUE STORY of how it all went down.

THANK YOU ALL AGAIN for contributing to the event. It was exceedingly fun. I wish it happened every weekend. And it raised MANY AMERICAN DOLLARS for the cause OF CHILDREN.

That is all.

Photo of triumph COURTESY: the website of THE SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (!), though I forget exactly who took it.

THIS BOILS IT DOWN FOR ME.

THIS ISSUE OF HONESTY AND INTEGRITY that is so compelling that it has literally chased every last laff off this page, alas.



That is all.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

IN RESPONSE TO JESSE'S POST

I LOVE RANDY NEWMAN as much as the next guy.

BUT I ALSO LOVE this from frequent COULTON COHORT: "PAUL & STORM"

IF YOU GO TO THEIR WEBSITE, I also recommend"

"IF JAMES TAYLOR WERE ON FIRE"

"IF LEON REDBONE SUFFERED A MAJOR HEAD INJURY"


and

"IF JAMES TAYLOR WERE ON FIRE AT THE BOTTOM OF A WELL."

That is all.

NORTHAMPTON, MA (TECHNICALLY: HADLEY)

WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD is true.

I SHALL BE RETURNING to the land of Silent Cal this weekend to join

MANY ILLUSTRIOUS COLLEAGUES in a

BOOKISH DANCE PARTY, the details of which are HERE.



I DO THIS FOR MANY REASONS.

1. I cannot pass up a chance to appear with THURSTON MOORE
2. I am always looking for a chance to SHAKE KELLY LINK'S HAND
3. I always need more books, rubber stamps, bottle openers, Tintin paraphernalia, and gymnasium shelves.

THAT IS ALL

Friday, January 18, 2008

EVEN OBAMA KNOWS WHEN IT'S TIME TO DEPLOY A LAFF

WHEN WILL I LEARN?

“I said, ‘Well, I don’t handle paper that well. You know, my desk is a mess. I need somebody to help me file and stuff all the time.’ So the other two, they say, ‘Well, my biggest weakness is I’m just too passionate about helping poor people. I am just too impatient to bring about change in America.’ If I had gone last I would have known what the game was. I could have said, ‘Well, you know, I like to help old ladies across the street. Sometimes they don’t want to be helped. It’s terrible.’” - Barack Obama, Las Vegas

NOTE: the beautifully curved quotation marks.

CUT AND PASTE COURTESY: Paul Tough. His actual name.

That is all.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

"INCHES OF LENGTH, SECONDS OF TIME": TWO APLOGIES

1. SO THAT WE MAY put this behind us, BOB JOHNSON has apologized to Obama (though well after H. Clinton claimed he had.)

2. HERE IS A BLOGGER who is admirably devoted to the difference between tick marks and quotation marks. To her, I say: I DID NOT KNOW ANY BETTER, and for that...

I am very sorry.

THAT IS ALL.

SORRY, MY MISTAKE: THAT LAST VIDEO WAS FUNNY

I DO APOLOGIZE. Here is one that is not funny.



IT WON'T HAPPEN AGAIN!

That is all.

"YOU THINK I'VE GOT SOME KIND OF AROMA?"

LOOK, I use the internet probably EVERY DAY.

HOW IS IT that I managed to miss Chelsea Perretti flirting with goddamn JONATHAN WINTERS?



AND ALSO, purely out of envy: HOW THE HELL DID CHELSEA PERRETTI MANAGE TO DATE JONATHAN WINTERS so that she could make this movie?

IS IT BECAUSE SHE IS A BEAUTIFUL LADY and I am a barely passable lady?

IS THAT FAIR?

That is all.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

HELLO, READERS OF VALLEYWAG


I WAS VERY FLATTERED indeed to be linked by an actual BLOG today.

(A RARE OCCURRENCE, and probably rightly so).

BUT TO BE VERY CLEAR: **I** am not giving a concert recital of

MANY BEAUTIFUL GUITAR SONGS

in San Francisco on Feb 22.

THAT WOULD BE COULTON.


Sorry if my earlier posting on this matter was unclear.

THAT IS ALL.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

THIS INFORMATION MUST BE KNOWN

A MESSAGE from Coulton to you,

ONE WHICH I SUSPECT YOU HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED.

BEGIN QUOTED TEXT

My apologies if your geographical location makes this email
irrelevant, but THIS INFORMATION MUST BE KNOWN:

On February 22 I'll be doing a show at the Great American Music Hall
in San Francisco. I'll be accompanied by a crew of video production
people who will capture whatever magic happens there, and later,
re-assemble it on a DVD that hopefully the entire world will purchase.
With any luck, this will also lead to a proper live CD.

I'm telling you all this because it's important that the show be fun
and special and generally awesome. If you live in San Francisco, I
insist you come to this show. If you don't I hope you'll tell your San
Francisco friends about it so they come instead.

This will be fun! And expensive and terrifying (for me, not you)!

Buy your tickets here.

Will there be more shows? Yes, somewhere, sometime. Honestly I can't
think past the 22nd right now, and a lot of things are still coming
together. When stuff gets booked, I will spam you about it. I
promise.

See you in SF!

END QUOTED TEXT

That is all.

BLACK IS WHITE

APPARENTLY, Obama is the establishment candidate.

OH. NOW I FINALLY GET IT.

THE TRUTH IS Obama may be a beautiful orator with NO OTHER SKILLS, but it is clear that he is running an intensely negative campaign, despite every promise to "take the high road."

And you know, you have to ask yourself: why?

Why is this Sidney Poitier-like nice Black man SWIFT-BOATING the poor Clintons?

IS IT because he is terrified of losing his death grip on his decades old grip on the Democratic party after BILL AND HILLARY CLINTON'S INSPIRATIONAL WIN IN IOWA?

OR IS IT BECAUSE OBAMA IS JUST A HALF-BLACK, MAYBE-MUSLIM FORMER COKE DEALER?

LOOK: you can't rule it out.

That is all.

PS:

(MEANWHILE my good friend Paul is talking about some crazy notebook computer?)

(WHERE'S THE BEEF? I ask you? BLOGS are supposed to be deathly, stultifyingly serious.)

BACK TO SQUID SUITS SOON, I promise.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MLK: or.... A GUESS A SQUID SUIT IS NOT ENOUGH

GOOD MORNING

I REALLY TRIED TO TAKE Obama's advice and end the "silliness" with a SQUID SUIT.

BUT APPARENTLY I CANNOT HELP IT.

LAST NIGHT, as you may know, Obama attempted to retire this whole discussion.

(WHICH I WELCOME, honestly, as I have a book due on Monday.)

OBAMA as reported by Jeff Zeleny, NYT:

“I don’t want the campaign at this stage to degenerate into so much tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, that we lose sight of why all of us are doing this.... We’ve got too much at stake at this time in our history to be engaging in this kind of silliness. I expect that other campaigns feel the same way.”

(AND A QUESTION FOR JEFF ZELENY: how exactly did you determine, factually, that the purpose of Obama's statements was "...to be seen as taking the high road" as opposed to just, you know, TAKING THE HIGH ROAD?)

OBAMA ALSO ADDRESSED what RAB from the comments noted: most of this sniping, spinning, and attacking is coming from supporters, endorsers, enthusiasts, and volunteers. It is hard to control every statement that comes out of a campaign.

OBAMA, cont'd: “If I hear my own supporters engaging in talk that I think is ungenerous or misleading or in some way is unfair, I will speak out forcefully against it,” he said. “I hope the other campaigns take the same approach.”*

GOOD. And why shouldn't we hope for that? After all, didn't Mark Penn of the Clinton camp promise us that "those kind of negative personal remarks will not be a part of this campaign" after William Shaheen insinuated Obama might have been a drug dealer?

AND DIDN'T HILLARY CLINTON offer her own words of reconciliation soon after Obama made his remarks?

AT LAST, a new day: SQUID SUITS FOREVER.

BUT THEN: this morning.

BOB JOHNSON still does not think Obama is Black enough.

CHARLES RANGEL, whom I've always liked, suggests that perhaps Obama did drugs in high school in order to sell books.

GOOD MORNING!

THAT IS ALL.

*AND, ON THAT SAME DAY, when Obama learned of a volunteer in Nevada who was circulating pamphlets that SOME PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET found questionable, he immediately dismissed that person.

Monday, January 14, 2008

TO LIGHTEN THE MOOD: A SQUID COSTUME


Jonathan Coulton Paper Doll
Originally uploaded by jasonlnorman.
...FOR COULTON

That is all.

A SMALL CORRECTION

ACCORDING TO THE AP, Hillary Clinton was not yet on stage when Johnson made the remarks that ANGERED ME SO. She came on stage after him.

JUST 'FOR YOUR INFORMATION'

NOW I will try to sleep again and get back to laffs.

That is all.

FROM THE COMMENTS


FROM YOUR COMMENTS, "RAB" notes below...

"One thing that seems to afflict both Clinton and Obama right now is the way anything said by anyone connected with their campaigns -- or even alleged supporters unconnected to their campaigns -- is being laid at the feet of the candidates themselves."

I AGREE, but only to an extent.

IN THE INSTANCE of the BOB JOHNSON speech, which I find so objectionable, however:

a) Hillary Clinton was on stage with Johnson when he made his speech.
b) She did not and has not rebuked his speech.
c) The Clinton campaign itself issued Johnson's defense, that his reference to Obama "doing something in the neighborhood" that was so shameful that Johnson dare not speak it aloud was not AT ALL a reference to Obama's experimentation with drugs, but instead a reference to Obama's work as a community organizer.

I TRUST YOU WILL JOIN ME IN AGREEING THIS EXPLANATION IS UTTERLY IMPLAUSIBLE

and d) today, Bill Clinton again came to Johnson's defense, saying we must take Johnson at his word.

THERE IS NO QUESTION in my mind what Johnson was actually referring to. And in this case his candidate has not only tacitly endorsed his attack, but explicitly defended it.

Presumably they also defend Johnson's later attack, which has gotten less play, but which I find DOUBLY FOUL and very sad indeed...

JOHNSON: “That kind of campaign behavior does not resonate with me, for a guy who says, ‘I want to be a reasonable, likable, Sidney Poitier ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.’ And I’m thinking, I’m thinking to myself, this ain’t a movie, Sidney. This is real life.”

THIS TECHNIQUE, suggesting that the Obama is not the RIGHT KIND of black person for the job, is unfortunately not new.

"You have to learn to be an African-American, and we don't have time to train you."--Then incumbent mayor of Sharpe James discussing his rival, Cory Booker, in 2002.

HOW DID their rivalry finally play out? If you don't know, I don't want to spoil the movie for you:



THAT IS ALL

Sunday, January 13, 2008

MY CONCERN

MY CONCERN isn't that Hillary Clinton and her campaigners might sound like secret racists.

I AM CONFIDENT THEY ARE NOT.

MY CONCERN is that they sound like Karl Rove.

(And I am especially appalled at how quickly one of her supporters deployed the old, disgusting "NOT BLACK ENOUGH" meme--though sadly not surprised. If you saw the documentary STREET FIGHT about the Newark mayoral race--which followed how an older, powerful, entrenched Democratic mayor sabotaged the campaign of his charismatic, young challenger--you would have suspected, as I did, that it was just a matter of time.)

That is all.

Friday, January 11, 2008

MIRMAN IS STUCK IN THE SNOW

I SAW THIS LAST NIGHT at Sam Means's book party.

BUT NOW I get to see it on the internet.



IT'S BETTER EVERY TIME.

THAT IS ALL

Thursday, January 10, 2008

28.7%


I CONFESS I am a little worried.

IF YOU VISIT OUR "Scrabble for Cheaters" page, you will see that John Oliver and I have reached only 28.7% of our fund raising goal of $5ooo.

WHICH IS TO SAY, right now we only have $1,435.00 worth of cheats.

WHICH IS TO SAY, it is likely that when we meet on Sat, Jan 19, to play Scrabble for the benefit 826NYC, we will be forced to play a game that 71.3% HONEST.

Which is to say: WE DON'T HAVE A CHANCE.

PLEASE DON'T MAKE US TAKE THE RISK OF WINNING FAIR AND SQUARE and donate now, if you can.

That is all

IMAGE OF NUDE SCRABBLISTS COURTESY: www.blacksbeach.org, of San Diego.

THERE WILL BE NO NUDITY AT THE 826 EVENT.

In fact, I am thinking about wearing gloves and a mask.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

FROM THE COMMENTS: ADAM

FROM YOUR COMMENTS, "Adam" writes....

"...Ironic how nerds are now the writers and creators of popular culture. "

AS I AM A NERD, I will say that you are not using the term "irony" here exactly right, as indeed, I think a fair argument could be made that culture has always been CREATED by nerds, obsessives, geeks, and weirdos...

JUST LOOK AT BEETHOVEN.

HOWEVER, Silverman's comment confirms that culture is still largely PAID FOR AND DISTRIBUTED by a jockish clique who are in some ways defined by their nerd-hate.

THE GREAT CHANGE, and indeed the "irony" you seek, is that, BECAUSE OF "INTERNET," we are shifting from a distributor-controlled culture to a creator-controlled culture.

WHICH IS TO SAY:

A GREAT DEAL MORE of unrepentant geeky product is getting out there via "THE TUBES" with minimal distributor interference; GEEK AUDIENCES ARE forming powerful taste-making groups; and these two phenomena are leading SOME NETWORKS* to initiate authentically geeky products**, or at least IMITATIONS OF SAME***.

WHICH IS TO SAY: it sometimes looks like nerds are winning, slowly, by increments...

AND THAT, FRANKLY, is the exact opposite of what I ever expected to happen.

HOWEVER, it is comments like Silverman's that sometimes make me wonder if that is a FALSE HOPE, and that, in the end, the major networks would rather destroy themselves by ceding all geek audiences to cable rather than embrace one of the last few non-sports-oriented mass markets that exists.

TIME WILL TELL.

That is all.

*NBC?
**"Heroes?"
***"Heroes?"

JOCK V. NERD II

NOW, more than a year after the first*,

ANOTHER timely example of the defining cultural divide of our time: JOCK v. NERD

Ben Silverman, NBC Entertainment Co-Chair, on the canceling of the Golden Globes due to the WGA strike...

'"Sadly, it feels like the nerdiest, ugliest, meanest kids in the high school are trying to cancel the prom. But NBC wants to try to keep that prom alive."'

QUOTE COURTESY: Defamer.

(OF COURSE I read it)

LET US ONLY HOPE that NBC can finally save the rich kids from the ugly, ugly nerds.

That is all.


*Search under "Klosterman" or "nerd ascendancy" or "Lost."

Monday, January 07, 2008

FROM THE COMMENTS: BEAKER

FROM THE COMMENTS, Annje writes:

"All you need is a "Beaker" sidekick. Just thought I'd throw that out there. "

WHAT? COULTON is not Beakerish enough for you people?

That is all.

I AM QUITE SERIOUS: NO TATTOOS

TO CHANGE THE TONE OF THIS CONVERSATION, let me belatedly alert you to...

THIS GREAT INTERVIEW with the great STEPHEN FRY

TO BE FOUND over at Ken Plume's QUICK STOP, which is always worth a quick (or slow) STOP.

The show in question, QI, for "Quite Interesting" is indeed one of the most important television shows in history.

FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE WIRE, anyway.

(I LOOK FORWARD to your fiery e-mails on this subject. But before you attack me, may I ask: does The Wire have its own STUFFY PRIVATE CLUBHOUSE AND RESTAURANT? I think you know the answer.*)
(THE QI BUILDING, Oxford, "England")


ALAS, the program is not available here in the states, but it is available SOMEWHAT on the internet.

ENJOY IT, and enjoy the work of Ken Plume, who is TIRELESS.

That is all.

Jh

*"YES: But it is in Baltimore."

Friday, January 04, 2008

NOT EVEN MY GLASSES

FROM YOUR COMMENTS...

"ADMIN" writes from the comments....

"John - I agree, but you might consider getting your own face tattooed on your body somewhere. A gentleman named Steve-o has done this to hilarious effect."

JOHN HODGMAN replies...

FIRST of all, Admin, please address me as JOHN HODGMAN.

SECOND of all, I already have a tattoo of my face ON MY FACE. Or perhaps you missed it, as it is AN INCREDIBLE LIKENESS.

CHECK IT OUT:

That is all.

COURTESY: Mai Le and WIKIPEDIA for the photo of my face tattoo.

LISTEN: I MEAN IT

DO NOT TATTOO YOURSELVES WITH PICTURES OF MY FACE OR ANYONE'S FACE!

That is all.

HOBOES PUSHING INK


Literal Tramp Stamp
Originally uploaded by dregboy.
DREGBOY steps forward with a "Literal Tramp Stamp."

WHILE THIS LEAVES ME SPEECHLESS, and it obviously deserves recognition, as Dregboy has ruined his life,

I DO NOT ENCOURAGE YOU PEOPLE TO GET TATTOOS.

EVEN IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING GETTING A TATTOO OF MY ENTIRE BOOK, you should not do it, as I do not wish to answer to your parents, spouses, and physicians.

AT LEAST DREGBOY did not get a tattoo of my face.

That is all.