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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My kind of football player

I'm not even a Steelers fan, but you gotta love Troy Polamalu. He looks like the unholy love child of Johnny Unitas and Macy Gray. Also, he's an amazing player.

Despite this... go Pats! I wish Troy played for them.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

It's not on Ground Zero and it isn't a mosque. WTF, guys?

Even if you hate Keith Olbermann, please watch this.

"First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Communist..."

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Floods in Pakistan Worsen. Please Consider Helping.

Pakistan's been going through a rough time lately, even more than usual. The plane crash in Islamabad, then some riots, bombings and shootings, and now this.

If you can spare some cash, the people could sure use it. The waters show no sign of diminishing and in fact are flowing southward, which will only worsen the situation as it moves into southern Punjab, Sindh and, god forbid, Karachi.

Here's a link to some places you can donate, either online or by mailing a check. There's always the Red Cross, too.


15 Overrated American Writers

The Huffington Post has published this interesting article by Anis Shivani (yeah, me neither) about the 15 most overrated American writers working today. It's a fun article and bound to raise a few eyebrows, and what strikes me is how few of these people I have actually read (Amy tan, Jumpa Lahiri). Based on my limited knowledge, hey, this guy might be on to something...

Here's the link to the article:

And for you people who hate links, here's his list. Any thoughts?

1. William T. Vollman
2. Amy Tan -- I read something once. She seems to be one of these people who writes the same story over and over with minor variations, but that may not be fair.
3. John Ashbery -- I actually heard him read at the U of Arizona when I was in grad school. I had no idea what was going on. Shivani offers a quote that seems about right.
4. Mary Oliver
5. Helen Vendler
6. Antonya Nelson
7. Sharon Olds -- read her a lot in grad school when I was trying to date poets. She writes a lot about, like, sex and her father. Often in the same poem, if you get my drift. I used to like her stuff but haven't read it in ages. She had a book called Satan Says, which I thought was a killer title for a bunch of poems.
8. Jorie Graham
9. Jonathan Safran Foer -- a big gun among young writers but I've never read anything by him.
10. Jhumpa Lahiri -- yeah man, somebody explain this to me. I read a few stories from Interpreter of Maladies and was amazed at how poor some of them were. Never read The Namesake; it seems dull.
11. Junot Diaz
12. Louise Gluck
13. Michael Cunningham -- wrote The Hours, which I never read, but like everyone else I saw the movie.
14. Billy Collins
15. Michiko Kakutani -- apparently a reviewer for the New York Times, not a writer per se.

I realize this may come off as sour grapes, and maybe it is, but I also think it's an interesting list and something to think about. Shivani gives his reasons and has a historical perspective too in a discussion of Pulitzer Prizes awarded in the first half of the 20th century. It's interesting to see who was being recognized at that time (Julia Peterkin, Oliver La Farge) and who was overlooked (Faulkner, Hemingway, Sherwood Anderson). Willa Cather won for One of Ours but not for My Antonia. So it's nothing new, exactly, but the hype machine is, perhaps, operating at a greater pitch these days than in the past.

Saturday, August 7, 2010