a reader’s progress

August 16, 2006: “The worst violators of nature…”

The worst violators of nature and human rights never go to jail. They hold the keys. In the world as it is, the looking-glass world, the countries that guard the peace also make and sell the most weapons. The most prestigious banks launder the most drug money and harbor the most stolen cash. The most […]

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June 27, 2006: “Once again the New York Times…”

Once again the New York Times seems to have roiled the literary pond, provoking, depending on your disposition, screeches of indignation or snarls of ridicule. The occasion for the rising noise level being the lame-assed (I guess I am tipping my hand here) attempt to name the best American novel of the past 25 years. […]

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August 26, 2004: Four More Years

Four years is the time we set aside for high school, undergraduate degrees and presidential terms. It happens also to be the length of time that Identitytheory dot com has been broadbanding across the Internet firmament. This anniversary probably requires some (few) words to mark it and its progress, if not for its readers, certainly […]

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April 7, 2004: “It is best not to disclaim any low motives…”

It is best not to disclaim any low motives for one’s criticism and embitterment with the forces of ignorance and unbridled commerce, and I must leave it to others to discover the base reasons for my dismay and with the e-mob that lays claim to the portals of the brave new world. I have already […]

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12 Reasons for the Death of Small and Independent Bookstores

To sink to the old good news/bad news routine, Avenue Victor Hugo Bookstore is closing its doors after 29 years. Vince McCaffrey lays out his view of the objective conditions that led to this final closing: Twelve reasons for the death of small and independent bookstores Ever thankful to those who made the effort before […]

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March 17, 2004: “Far be it for me to step in the large pile of turds that Mel Gibson has left behind”

Far be it for me to step in the large pile of turds that Mel Gibson has left behind with his deft marketing of his deity-inspired rendering of Christian mythology. As Joseph Epstein replied when I queried him about his intentions to weigh in, it would require him to see the movie, which he was […]

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February 25, 2004: “I was going to write about the unrefined thoughts…”

I was going to write about the unrefined thoughts I had on the passing of Golden Age of TV icon Jack Paar. Which involved some teleportation back, against time’s arrows, to the past, when television was Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bill and Kukla Fran and Ollie and Studs Terkel (this was in Chicago) and Dave […]

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February 8, 2004: “Regular garden-variety cantankerousness”

Regular garden-variety cantankerousness—now regularly euphemized as “contrariness” or “curmudgeonly behavior”—is responsible for my life-long (as least adult life) disregard of the Justinian calendar. The lapse in my attention to my journal was superceded by the end of the annual end-of-the-year hysteria that has firmly rooted itself in the American culture—it might be thus in other […]

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December 7, 2003: Scary Martin Amis

"Scary" Martin Amis Recently I printed out a digital image I made of Martin Amis at my most recent conversation with him. I showed it to my friend Janice and her immediate reaction was that he was scary looking, "He looks like a vampire," she opined. Michael, my other friend who was also given a […]

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December 1, 2003: “Despite industrial imperatives that focus on current releases…”

Despite industrial imperatives that focus on current releases with the hopes of creating bestsellers, hopefully in the giga proportions of Harry Potter, there are occasional reminders that the literary moment is not coincident with the commercial one. Jonathan Yardley’s "Second Reading" columns in the Washington Post are some of those. Recently Yardley revisited the prodigious […]

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November 23, 2003: “Rosie is not reading this book…”

Rosie is not reading this book. But she is helping out. Read on. Recently I went to some Homo sapiens events with Rosie, my steadfast canine companion. They weren’t billed as dog-friendly events, but such is my arrogance (or confidence) that I thought nothing of making Rosie my date. It helped, of course, that I […]

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October 28, 2003: “The dismal direction of American history…”

One recent visit with Cuba’s kindergarten teacher, Karen Derusha, reawakened both my fear and my loathing of the dismal direction of American history as represented and presumably directed by, as Robert Stone opined in a recent conversation, a bunch of "truimphalist babbits." The stench of disingenuous posturing, as exhibited by George Bush’s claims to aspiring […]

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October 15, 2003: “I was filling up my tank at the local Getty station…”

I was filling up my tank at the local Getty station, and I noticed the Powerball lottery was up to 47 million dollars. Which got me thinking—what would I do with net 23 million dollars? By the time I got inside to pay, I had decided that winning all that money wouldn’t be worth it. […]

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October 1, 2003: “Mildly attending to the shenanigans of the so-called major candidates”

I’m the innocent bystander Somehow I got stuck Between the rock and the hard place And I’m down on my luck… -from "Lawyers, Guns and Money" by Warren Zevon It’s been years since I have been able to muster up much enthusiasm for any political candidate in this country. This did not result in what […]

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“Warren Zevon’s passing is heartbreaking” –September 11, 2003

No matter what I am writing about today (except maybe a note to my mother, "Warren who?") I have to say that Warren Zevon’s passing is heartbreaking. I spent the day listening to a two CD anthology. I didn’t feel so bad after that. I mean, "The gorilla at the LA Zoo took the glasses […]

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