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Category Archives: personal

Public but personal blog.

From a letter to a pregnant friend

A month or two back, two girlfriends of mine announced their pregnancies in a single email (knowing a couple of us from the old gang aren’t on Facebook anymore). Recently, a few of the gang who are still near our hometown got together for dinner, digging up some tensions which our group hadn’t really acknowledged […]

Letters to Young People: Unsayable

I wrote this to a student at the end of last semester, one who was struggling with what looked pretty clearly to me like depression and/or self-deprecating thoughts that go along with it. I never sent this. This is the kind of thing that would lose you your job. But I think it is so, […]

Letters to young people: Ents

Student who failed class asks for recommendations of what to do next time. Response: [Kid], You got a 67.7% on your midterm. You got a 58% on your … paper. You got a 72.5% on your … project. With generous adjustment (which everyone in the class got), you got only 27% on your final. You […]

On Bicycles

I just wrote up the following for my online dating profile, on a site which seems to be awash with fixie-riding hipsters. Cute boys, but unfortunately bicycle-obsessed. Many of you good-lookin’, smart, down-for-the-cause gentlemen appear to be into bicycling. I generally click through a cute picture and skim down a well-written, funny profile indicating how […]

Hello, Hello

There’s something about viewing the full life of an artist that’s comforting. Clay didn’t get a full, long trajectory of his own, and it feels like a horrible cosmic mistake. But he’d played a prodigious number of songs for a kid his age.

Someone Else’s Neuroses

Everything in my room was covered with a white, chalky, spotty film of what I can only think of as poison. It was on my accordion case, my alarm clock, my shoes. The floor was covered with dried puddles of varnish, poison, and dead bug bodies, which when handled indelicately would leave blackish-red smears of gore on the pale flooring. Bed bug freaking Vietnam.

TSA Experience, 101117

As I’ve been following the movement to resist the use of backscatter scanners at airports, and people are being encouraged to report their experiences to the ACLU as well as the general public, I thought I should report my experience with the TSA this morning:

Do the Tighten Up!

Hi everybody! We are YMO, from Tokyo, Japan! Now, Tighten Up was very popular in Houston, Texas? With Archie Bell, and the Drells? Now, tighten up! Takahashi! Sakamoto! Yo La Tengo! Lynda Barry! Come on, everybody! Sock it to me, Sakamoto! JAPANESE GENTLEMEN, STAND UP PLEASE! DO THE TIGHTEN UP!

What We Won’t Be This Halloween

or, I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means.

Did You Know?

Russell Hoban (Riddley Walker author)’s son Wieland is one year younger than me, is a composer famous in his own right (though I suspect he writes music which is hard to listen to), and has written an article about phone ringtones which references that goddamn Theodor Adorno piece about jazz which makes everyone hate Adorno? […]