Thursday, December 31, 2009


Numbers on a calendar are arbitrary. You have to keep track of them so people don't get mad at you for showing up late or missing a flight or a payment, or I suppose there are other important things to you or someone else. The year is marked by moments. Here's to another year of moments (I'm raising a glass of Jameson, if you can't see). The moments that make up a life are nothing special and they are all special.

Monday, December 28, 2009

arbitrary rating: bowling on tv

Grade: B

I was staying at a hotel near New York City's Times Square last month. I saw James Spader across the street from my hotel and got trampled by crowds attending the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center. After a near-death tourist experience, there is nothing more relaxing than watching a bowling match from the 1980s on ESPN Classic. I was transfixed by a bowling match that was at least 25 years old. The hair! The mustaches! The Trickle-Down Economics! Here is the problem with bowling on TV: the bowlers are too good. They are robots programmed to throw strikes and spares. There is no drinking or swearing. No having a nervous break down and chucking a ball down the wrong lane. No throwing the ball when the pin setter is down and the guy behind the shoe counter yells and gives you "a warning." Nobody gets a ball stuck on his fingers and whips it at the people behind him like you can do on Wii Bowling. But the good thing is you can't taunt your opponent, or make fun of her for scoring 80 because, god, you guys are mean. I told you on the car ride here, I suck at bowling.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I dare you to watch the whole thing. I TRIPLE-dog-dare you.

[Wegrzyn created a slight breach of etiquette by skipping the triple dare and going right for the throat]

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

x-mas link dump (part 6)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

van gogh letter sketches

Four people on a bench
To Theo from The Hague
September 1882 [262]

"Well, I hope that the small bench, even if not yet saleable, will show you that I have nothing against tackling subjects with something agreeable or pleasant about them, which are thus more likely to find buyers than things with a more sombre sentiment. [...]

Adieu again, a handshake in thought, and believe me, Ever yours, Vincent"

Before Van Gogh was Van Gogh, he was a financially struggling artist defining his philosophy about art and his place as an artist within the business. He was concerned about which paintings would sell and which paintings wouldn't.
You mustn’t, whatever you do, think that I have great expectations regarding the appreciation of my work — I believe one must be satisfied if one gets to the point where one can persuade a few people of the soundness of what one is striving for and is understood by them, without exaggerated praise.

And the rest is a matter of, if something comes of it so much the better, but something that one should even think about as little as possible. But still I believe the work has to be seen, precisely because the few friends can settle out from the stream of passers-by. One doesn’t have to be guided by what the majority say or do, though.

Self-affirmations are a familiar refrain for artists. Some days belief in them is empowering and some days it's a clap-if-you-believe-in-fairies plea to a cynical Lost Boy.

This collection of Van Gogh letter sketches is captivating as an affirmation of art and life. They illuminate the practical concerns of the artist in both art and business.

And it's fun to pretend you are pen pals with Vincent Van Gogh.

Much more at BibliOdyssey. Link.

Monday, December 21, 2009

katherine dunn lets her faucet drip

A good article on writer Katherine Dunn ("Geek Love"). Link.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

x-mas link dump (part 5)

I enjoy the 24/7 Xmas programming on WLIT, but even I have to change the radio when Christmas Shoes comes on. Okay sometimes I listen just to confirm its horribleness.

Friday, December 18, 2009

x-mas link dump (part 4)

Billy Squire - Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You

x-mas link dump (part 3)

Today is the last day of school before winter break. You pry off your snow-slushy boots that slurp the gold-toe socks half-off your foot, chuck your backpack on the mat next to the door (your Trapper Keeper crushes post Math Class holiday party candy canes into crumbs), and tromp down into your woodpaneled basement to watch X-mas commercials, sitcoms, and specials on your rabbit-eared TV. Will Vinton's Claymation Christmas Special will pop up sooner or later: This is Betamaxmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

best YouTube video of 2009?

I don't speak goat, but I think he's yelling to his wife to find his favorite dress pants to wear to a stupid work dinner he doesn't really want to go to anyway. But the open bar is top shelf liquor so where are his pants baaaaaaahhhhh!

x-mas link dump (part 2)

Silver Spoons - The Best Christmas Ever (1982)
There aren't enough sitcom episodes about impoverished families that take residence in well-furnished bear caves on the property of millionaire man-child toy moguls. Watching the whole thing is like challenging yourself to finish the bag of Fun Dip after you've eaten the two lick-a-sticks. Do you dump the rest of the pouch of purple sugar directly into your mouth, or do you use your saliva soaked index finger as God intended? This earnest holiday episode of Silver Spoons fills a crack in the soul of American entertainment with a gooey caulk of Christmas spirit. If there is one lesson I've learned here it is this: being rich solves everything.

x-mas link dump (part 1)

A mess of X-mas music of all sizes and shapes on the internets. Explore:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

perhaps you noticed:

This blog is now Links and bookmarks pointed to the original address will continue to function as usual. No need to change anything, not that you would, because I haven't been posting. Actually -- true story -- I owned in 2003-2004. I let it expire. After all, it wasn't free like the bowl of Jolly Ranchers next to the cash register at the dry cleaners. And then somebody else bought the domain. Oh my god: frowny face! Who stole my domain?! I invented Chainsaw Calligraphy. I've been writing under Chainsaw Calligraphy ever since I used it as the title for my weekly humor column in Washington University's newspaper ( in 2001.

The domain was available again. So I reclaimed it. So there.

If this sounds like a renewed investment in the blog, perhaps. I don't know. MAYBE. Twitter has diffused the impulse to post dumb things I used to post here. But here's a stray thought: it would be great to be an astronaut repairing a satelite on a space walk because you get to pee in your work clothes. Most jobs would fire you for that.

I'm also trying to be more professional.