5 Cool Things :: Sept. 2, 2012

Life, a wise person told me, is yes and no. Fate hangs in the balance — one or zero, on or off, in or out. Live or die, eat or go hungry. No, instead of yes. Yes, instead of no. Here to weigh in are Yoko, 37 Signals, Charles Bukowski, Georg Duckwitz and Tobias Wolff. “The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all,” said Ted Hughes. Agreed. Yes. Onward then. (Thanks to JP)

 1. Yes, Painting | Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono | Yes Painting

Where were you in November of 1966? (Boarding school.) Do you recall? Yoko Ono was exhibiting her Yes, Painting at the Indica Gallery of London. (To my London pals — were any of you there?) As you might be able to tell, you’d climb the ladder, use the glass, look up at a piece of paper affixed to the ceiling and you would find there, written in tiny letters, Yes.

From Yoko-

“‘YES’ was my work and John encountered it and he went up the stairs and he looked at this word that said ‘Yes.’ At the time I didn’t really think it would be taken so personally. But I don’t really connect it with John as much as I connect it with my view of life. My view of life is the fact that there were many incredible negative elements in my life, and in the world, and because of that I had to conjure up a positive attitude within me in balance to the most chaotic … and I had to balance that by activating the ‘Yes’ element. ‘Yes’ is an expression that I always carried and that I’m carrying.”

More about Yoko’s art >>

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2. The Power of No at Work | 37 Signals

“It’s so easy to say yes. Yes to yet another feature, yes to an overly optimistic deadline, yes a mediocre design, yes, yes, yes. We all want to be loved.

But the love won’t keep you warm for long when you’ve taken on yet another obligation that you don’t whole-heartedly believe in. You very quickly become trapped in a pit of guilt when the stack of things you’ve said yes to loom so high that you can’t even see the things you really should be doing.

That’s not a good way to live or work. Which is why you have to start getting into the habit of saying no. No to things that just don’t fit, no to things that just aren’t the most important right now, and no to many things that simply don’t cut it.

It’s incredibly rare that I’ve actually regretted saying no, but I dread my yes’s all the time.

Use the power of no to get your priorities straight. Take the brief discomfort of confrontation up front and avoid the long regret down the line.”

Who is 37 Signals? They’re the folks who make BaseCamp and numerous other web-based collaboration tools. Started out as web designers, morphed into a smart, savvy, edgy software company. Chicago based. Visit the Signal vs. Noise blog. Read a brief, thoughtful interview with 37 Signals’ CEO, Jason Fried.

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A Song for Sunday :: Wynton Kelly :: Softly As In a Morning Sunrise 

Wikipedia: Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise is a song with music by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II from the 1928 operetta The New Moon. Covered here by: Wynton Kelly, Jimmy Cobb, Paul Chambers.

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3. Oh, Yes | Charles Bukowski

there are worse things than
being alone
but it often takes decades
to realize this
and most often
when you do
it’s too late
and there’s nothing worse
than
too late.

– Oh, Yes, Charles Bukowski

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4. No | Georg Duckwitz and Denmark Say No

Denmark, 1943: A nation conspires to save the lives of 7,000 Jews.

Museet for Danmarks Frihedskamp

On September 28, 1943 one man said no. “In September 1943, the Nazis prepared for the deportation of all Danish Jews to concentration camps and death. But Georg Duckwitz, a German diplomat with a conscience, deliberately leaked the plans for the roundup, which was due to begin on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Armed with the information from Duckwitz, Danes swung into action. This is a very great — and under reported — story. You should read it >>

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5. Say Yes | Tobias Wolff

Tobias Wolff is such a beautiful short story writer. I remember being transfixed by a collection I read long ago — In the Garden of the North American Martyrs. Gorgeous stories. As luck would have it, Wolff wrote a terrific story, Say Yes, that takes yes and no into the thicket of love and marriage in a surprising way. Worth reading and perfect for today.

Say Yes

by Tobias Wolff

{Our Story Begins | Vintage Contemporaries}

They were doing the dishes, his wife washing while he dried. He’d washed the night before. Unlike most men he knew, he really pitched in on the housework. A few months earlier he’d overheard a friend of his wife’s congratulate her on having such a considerate husband, and he thought, I try. Helping out with the dishes was a way he had of showing how considerate he was.
They talked about different things and somehow got on the subject of whether white people should marry black people. He said that all things considered, he thought it was a bad idea.
“Why?” she asked.
Sometimes his wife got this look where she pinched her brows together and bit her lower lip and stared down at something. When he saw her like this he knew he should keep his mouth shut, but he never did. Actually it made him talk more. She had that look now.
“Why?” she asked again, and stood there with her hand inside a bowl, not washing it but just holding it above the water.
“Listen,” he said, “I went to school with blacks, I’ve worked with blacks, and we’ve always gotten along just fine. I don’t need you coming along now and implying that I’m a racist.”
“I didn’t imply anything,” she said, and began washing the bowl again, turning it around in her hand as though she were shaping it. “I just don’t see what’s wrong with a white person marrying a black person, that’s all.”
“They don’t come from the same culture as we do. Listen to them sometime – they even have their own language. That’s okay with me, I like hearing them talk” – he did; for some reason it always lifted his mood – “but it’s different. A person from their culture and a person from our culture could never really know each other.”
“Like you know me?” his wife asked.
“Yes. Like I know you.”
“But if they love each other,” she said. She was washing faster now, not looking at him.
Oh boy, he thought. He said, “Don’t take my word for it. Look at the statistics. Most of those marriages break up.”
“Statistics.” She was piling dishes on the drainboard at a terrific rate, just swiping at them with the cloth. Many of them were greasy, and there were flecks of food between the tines of the forks.
“All right,” she said, “what about foreigners? I suppose you think the same thing about two foreigners getting married.”
“Yes,” he said, “as a matter of fact I do. How can you understand someone who comes from a completely different background?”
“Different,” said his wife. “Not the same, like us.”
“Yes, different,” he snapped, angry with her for resorting to this trick of repeating his words so that they sounded crass, or hypocritical. “These are dirty,” he said, and dumped all the silverware back into the sink.
The water had gone flat and gray. She stared down at it, her lips pressed tight together, then plunged her hands under the surface. “Oh!” she cried, and jumped back. She took her right hand by the wrist and held it up. Her thumb was bleeding.
“Ann, don’t move,” he said. “Stay right there.” He ran upstairs to the bathroom and rummaged in the medicine chest for alcohol, cotton, and a Band-Aid. When he came back down she was leaning against the refrigerator with her eyes closed, still holding her hand. He took the hand and dabbed at her thumb with the cotton. The bleeding had stopped. He squeezed it to see how deep the wound was and a single drop of blood welled up, trembling and bright, and fell to the floor. Over the thumb she stared at him accusingly. “It’s shallow,” he said. “Tomorrow you won’t even know it’s there.” He hoped that she appreciated how quickly he had come to her aid. He’d acted out of concern for her, with no thought of getting anything in return, but now the thought occurred to him that it would be a nice gesture on her part not to start up that conversation again, as he was tired of it. “I’ll finish up here,” he said. “You go and relax.”
“That’s okay,” she said. “I’ll dry.”
He began to wash the silverware again, giving a lot of attention to the forks.
“So,” she said, “you wouldn’t have married me if I’d been black.”
“For Christ’s sake, Ann!”
“Well, that’s what you said, didn’t you?”
“No, I did not. The whole question is ridiculous. If you had been black we probably wouldn’t even have met. You would have had your friends and I would have had mine. The only black girl I ever really knew was my partner in the debating club, and I was already going out with you by then.”
“But if we had met, and I’d been black?”
“Then you probably would have been going out with a black guy.” He picked up the rinsing nozzle and sprayed the silverware. The water was so hot that the metal darkened to pale blue, then turned silver again.
“Let’s say I wasn’t,” she said. “Let’s say I am black and unattached and we meet and fall in love.”
He glanced over at her. She was watching him and her eyes were bright. “Look,” he said, taking a reasonable tone, “this is stupid. If you were black you wouldn’t be you.” As he said this he realized it was absolutely true. There was no possible way of arguing with the fact that she would not be herself if she were black. So he said it again: “If you were black you wouldn’t be you.”
“I know,” she said, “but let’s just say.”
He took a deep breath. He had won the argument but he still felt cornered. “Say what?” he asked.
“That I’m black, but still me, and we fall in love. Will you marry me?”
He thought about it.
“Well?” she said, and stepped close to him. Her eyes were even brighter. “Will you marry me?”
“I’m thinking,” he said.
“You won’t, I can tell. You’re going to say no.”
“Since you put it that way—”
“No more considering, Yes or no.”
“Jesus, Ann. All right. No.”
She said “Thank you,” and walked from the kitchen into the living room. A moment later he heard her turning the pages of a magazine. He knew that she was too angry to be actually reading it, but she didn’t snap through the pages the way he would have done. She turned them slowly, as if she were studying every word. She was demonstrating her indifference to him, and it had the effect he knew she wanted it to have. It hurt him.
He had no choice but to demonstrate his indifference to her. Quietly, thoroughly, he washed the rest of the dishes. Then he dried them and put them away. He wiped the counters and the stove and scoured the linoleum where the drop of blood had fallen. While he was at it, he decided, he might as well mop the whole floor. When he was done the kitchen looked new, the way it looked when they were first shown the house, before they had ever lived here.
He picked up the garbage pail and went outside. The night was clear and he could see a few stars to the west, where the lights of the town didn’t blur them out. On El Camino the traffic was steady and light, peaceful as a river. He felt ashamed that he had let his wife get him into a fight. In another thirty years or so they would both be dead. What would all that stuff matter then? He thought of the years they had spent together, and how close they were, and how well they knew each other, and his throat tightened so that he could hardly breathe. His face and neck began to tingle. Warmth flooded his chest. He stood there for a while, enjoying these sensations, then picked up the pail and went out the back gate.
The two mutts from down the street had pulled over the garbage can again. One of them was rolling around on his back and the other had something in her mouth. Growling, she tossed it into the air, leaped up and caught it, growled again and whipped her head from side to side. When they saw him coming they trotted away with short, mincing steps. Normally he would heave rocks at them, but this time he let them go.
The house was dark when he came back inside. She was in the bathroom. He stood outside the door and called her name. He heard bottles clinking, but she didn’t answer him. “Ann, I’m really sorry,” he said. “I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”
“How?” she asked.
He wasn’t expecting this. But from a sound in her voice, a level and definite note that was strange to him, he knew that he had to come up with the right answer. He leaned against the door. “I’ll marry you,” he whispered.
“We’ll see,” she said. “Go on to bed. I’ll be out in a minute.”
He undressed and got under the covers. Finally he heard the bathroom door open and close.
“Turn off the light,” she said from the hallway.
“What?”
“Turn off the light.”
He reached over and pulled the chain on the bedside lamp. The room went dark. “All right,” he said. He lay there, but nothing happened. “All right,” he said again. Then he heard a movement across the room. He sat up, but he couldn’t see a thing. The room was silent. His heart pounded the way it had on their first night together, the way it still did when he woke at a noise in the darkness and waited to hear it again – the sound of someone moving through the house, a stranger.

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FCT Special Edition :: The Lines are Open

jackie b. | me

1. Call Me at the Station, the Lines are Open

Last week I had the chance to do a live radio interview with my friend and business mentor, Jackie B. Peterson. We talked for about an hour about all kinds of things. The bumpy path of a writing business. Being afraid to write. The challenges of finding clients. The notion of voice in business writing. The time I met Kim Phuc. My visit to Spain with the Dark Angels. Joni’s song, It All Comes Down to You. The deal with creative staffing agencies. And much more. She was and is awesome. Thank you Jackie and thanks to Barbara Saunders at Solo Pro Radio.

To listen — just click my name or the little arrow. {When you click, your screen might go darker. Just click anywhere on the page, and your screen will return to normal. :)}

[audio: http://www.fivecoolthingsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Richard-and-Jackie-Interview.mp3|titles=Richard and Jackie Interview]

2. David Rakoff :: Freud Rides the Hampton Jitney

This past week the writer David Rakoff died at the age of 47. He was a regular on This American Life. If you don’t know him, he is David Sedaris’ soul brother. This should tell you something: Remember David Sedaris and his job as Santa’s elf in Macy’s those many years ago? His pal David Rakoff played — wait for it — Freud. In a store window. At Barney’s in New York. At Christmas. His essay is titled Christmas Freud.

Last summer at a writer’s conference on Long Island, David Rakoff read one of his signature essays to a packed-to-overflowing auditorium. I have never laughed so hard. (It was an unpublished piece on the life of a writer.) David Rakoff had 200+ people in tears, which, from all evidence he could do at will. Like his friend Sedaris, David Rakoff read with a very distinctive voice. You almost had to experience his writing through the sound of his voice. He was smart, talented, funny, cynical and compassionate. Completely irresistible.

At the end of the writers conference last year, I climbed onto the Hampton Jitney with my friend Peter Bolger. Across the aisle from us was David Rakoff, heading back home to Manhattan. He shared his New York Times with us and we swapped stories.

Excerpt below is from a 2006 Rakoff essay, Streets of Sorrow. (Worth reading entirely.)

“I take one final stroll over to Vine on my last morning on the Boulevard. Most of the businesses are still shuttered. The tourists have yet to arrive at Grauman’s. I pass Dan Avey’s star once again. It is all of four days old, but I see that it is patched. No doubt it left the workshop patched. There, against the salmon pink of the five-pointed star, is a cloud of darker red, like a bruise or the small beating heart of a tiny creature. There is such hope and poignancy, an almost animal frailty in that blemish, that I stop in my tracks for a minute. People have been coming out West with stars in their eyes for so long, and for just as long, some have returned to where they came from, their hopes dashed. But if the fulfillment of one’s dreams is the only referendum on whether they are beautiful or worth dreaming, then no one would wish for anything. And that would be so much sadder.” — from Streets of Sorrow, by David Rakoff

Times culture blog post here>>

Times obit here>>

Lovely New Yorker piece here>>

Doubleday plans to publish Rakoff’s final work next year. The title: Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die; Cherish, Perish.

You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio

A new issue of Five Cool Things is underway and will ship on August 5, 2012.
In the meanwhile, I’m going to be a guest on a live radio interview with Jackie B. Peterson, business coach extraordinaire.

Tune in for a great listening experience, Jackie is truly an inspiring person.

WHEN: August 1, 2012 :: 10:00 a.m. – 10: 50 West Coast Time
WHERE: www.W4WN.com
WHAT’s it all about? Everything you see below. And lots more.

{As always, thank you for being part of Five Cool Things. }

etc etc etc

Five Cool Things 10.16.2011

Let there be coffee.

Wee bit of a ‘traveling’ and ‘place’ theme in this issue; traveling through time, films and places. The New Yorker DVD of the Week comes up with The Devil is a Woman. Looking for a metaphor that is apt for the moment? How about American Inferno? John Jantsch has an industrial strength business idea that is well worth your time. The man who made the film Helvetica, has released Urbanization. And last, the burial place of the man whose travels changed the world forever, Christopher Columbus. And how can you not love this, from literary traveler Samuel Beckett: “To be together again, after so long, who love the sunny wind, the windy sun, in the sun, in the wind, that is perhaps something, perhaps something.” 

1. Calling Paul Murphy | DVD of the Week at the New Yorker


Serendipity, how do we love thee! The New Yorker’s Richard Brody has a cool weekly feature, the DVD of the Week. This week’s selection is “a 1935 romp through the erotic tangles of turn-of-the-century Spain.” Titled, The Devil is a Woman. The filmmaker is Josef von Sternberg and the story concerns a Republican activist who, facing arrest, returns home on a clandestine trip from Paris and meets a woman (Marlene Dietrich) who tempts him to compromise his mission.
Other DVD recommendations; The House of Mirth by British director Terence Davies, Husbands and Wives, by Woody Allen, and The Long, Long Trailer by Vincent Minnelli, which depicts, if you can believe it, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez pulling a trailer around America to madcap and disastrous results. Pop over for a look see>>

~ photos by linda massey & richard pelletier ~

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2. Take me to your metaphor | American Inferno 

American Inferno, burning in our imagination

In this gorgeous piece at the Paris Review, writer Margaret Eby takes us along on a journey to a place, to a metaphor, to a source of literary inspiration. Her piece, American Inferno is a beautiful read. Listen;

“The conflagration probably began in a stripping pit next to the cemetery, creeping along the deposits of fuel, burning up to three hundred feet underground. The town grew so warm that some residents no longer needed to turn on their basement hot-water heaters. Toxic plumes erupted, tree roots turned to ash, vegetables roasted on their stalks. The earth became unstable, and yawning holes opened into underground pits without warning: in 1981, twelve-year-old Todd Domboski fell into a sulfurous 150-foot-deep maw that appeared suddenly in his grandmother’s backyard, narrowly escaping incineration by grabbing onto a tree root. Efforts to stop the flames—clay seals to cut off oxygen, slurry pumped into the honeycombed caverns—proved useless. In the eighties, the federal government began relocating the town’s remaining population, razing their homes and shutting down a segment of the highway that had erupted. The fire may burn for another 250 years, encompassing 3,700 acres, before it runs out of fuel.”

Writers Dean Koontz, David Wellington, Joyce Carol Oates and Bill Bryson have all, in some form or other, used Centralia in their work. I love this sentence from the same piece;

“You could come here and never realize the chaos beneath your feet.” Have at it here>>

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3. Cool Business Ideas | Commitment Factory

John Jantsch ~ big ideas for small business

Your passion and commitment are essential, but it’s your ability to build passion and commitment for that vision in others that is going to be the key to growth. – John Jantsch

John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing, continues to generate great ideas, big and small, for small business. Now comes an idea for a new model for business; a commitment factory. I’m not loving the use of the word factory here, but I’ll let John speak for himself.

A commitment factory, however, is my idea for the new model of business. A business that manufactures ideas, brilliance, passion and commitment in a community that chooses to join what might be more apply described as a cause. Generating commitment is the new currency of American business and the most important task of a leader of a business defined in this manner is to guide passion and purpose in a way that encourages staff and customers alike to find, nurture and grow commitment around the things big and small that make a business something worth joining.

Here are the six floors of the factory;

1. Get the right people.
2. Tell the story over and over.
3. Protect the standards.
4. Make meetings about action.
5. Teach and share the metrics.
6. Invest in the best tools.

Do read the whole thing>>

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4. From the director of Helvetica | Urbanization

“Urban design is the language of the city.”

From the Urbanized website: “Who is allowed to shape our cities, and how do they do it? Unlike many other fields of design, cities aren’t created by any one specialist or expert. There are many contributors to urban change, including ordinary citizens who can have a great impact improving the cities in which they live.” Travel over to the Urbanized website>>

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5. Here lies Christopher Columbus | Cathedral of Seville 

Cathedral of Seville ~ iPhone photo by rp

More by accident than intent, I found myself on a bit of a Christopher Columbus tour while in Spain recently. You really can’t visit the city of Seville without visiting the Cathedral of Seville, (ca. 1403) which, it turns out, is the burial place of Christopher Columbus. Very close by is the truly fascinating Archivo de Indias — an historical archive holding 80 million pages of documents including first person accounts from the Conquistadors. This is the place where the Spanish government keeps all the original documents related to Spanish exploration in the New World including Columbus’ plundering explorations under lock and key and temperature control. I was also in Cadiz, in southern Spain, from which port Columbus set sail for the New World. (Thanks to Mr. John S. for that tidbit.) Aside from being reminded of my appalling historical and geographical ignorance, I was reminded of the power of place. I can tell you when you walk around the Cathedral of Seville and you have in mind that Columbus is buried within, you can feel the pull of time, of place, of stories. It’s palpable; the place issues a distinct hold on you. And it’s because of the power of stories; the ones we tell about ourselves about our history, the ones we’ve been told. I was reminded too, of how Church and State seem to be back in each other’s arms again. A very big story in itself.

 

Five Cool Things 1.09.11

Five Cool Things

Morning!

As a general rule, good television does not often involve an adventurous game show host and an avant-garde composer-guest playing clock radios and bath tubs, but there was such a time in America when such things did take place. I love that Robert Smartwood had a brilliant idea and that he executed it so well that the world – and W.W. Norton & Company – flocked to his doorstep. I’m not sure anything gives quite the serotonin kick of discovering the work of an outrageously funny and brilliant writer. Google Docs is steadily becoming an indispensable tool of modern life, discuss. Is there such a thing as progress and if there is, how have the historically poor and sick nations of the world progressed over the last two hundred years? Glad you’re here mates. Onward.

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1. Avant-Garde TV | John Cage’s Water Walk

I can’t possibly think of anything to add to this. Thanks to Marbury via Alex Ross.

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2. Short But Stout | Hint Fiction

Hint Fiction ~ Robert Smartwood

It was Lincoln who once apologized for writing a long letter by saying, “I didn’t have the time to write a short one.” Writing short is far more difficult than writing long, which makes Hint Fiction~An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Less, all the more impressive and wonderful. You’d like samples? My pleasure.

NOT WAVING
– by Hannah Craig

“What’s he doing out there,” Marnie asked.
We were sick of the lake, sunburned and wanted to go home.
I muttered. “I have no idea.”

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KENNY & SON
-by Ben Jahn

We found him in a motel a mile north of San Quentin. He had the Gideon
open on the nightstand so the boy would see.

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PROGRESS
-by Joe Schreiber

After seventeen days she finally broke down and called him, “Daddy.”

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Hint Fiction is the brainchild of the writer Robert Smartwood who lives in Pennsylvania. Learn more about Robert at his blog. Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer
As promised, below is my own 25 word story.

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CHAMBER OF HEARTACHE
-by Richard Pelletier

Every cell in my body felt it, knew it. Evil washed over me like a black waterfall. And I left her there.

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3. Man on Fire | Encountering Lorrie Moore, Genius

Super Funny Literary Dream Girl Lorrie Moore

Yes, I know that Jonathan Franzen is the terrific soup du jour, but I’d also like to call your attention to a particularly wonderful special we have today. Name of Lorrie Moore. This past Christmas I wandered into a bookstore and in five seconds flat, I’d grabbed (purely on instinct and a dim memory of something I’d read) a signed first edition of Lorrie Moore’s A Gate at the Stairs, a 2010 Pen Faulkner Award nominee.

This was a gift for my friend JM, and before I handed it over, I read a few pages (I wore cotton gloves, promise!) and was transfixed. Later, JM  texted: “Just now finished my book. loved it 2 pieces. Can’t wait 4 u 2 read it.”

Dear JM: I can’t wait either because I just finished reading her short story, People Like That Are the Only People Here, one of the most powerful stories I’ve ever read. After that I read, You’re Ugly, Too and laughed so hard I thought I thought I was gonna swallow my head.

Two things are clear: Lorrie Moore is one of the very best writers working in America today and far too many readers and lovers of fiction don’t know her work. She flies high and goes deep and is laugh out loud funny. Does it get any better than that? So in my spare time, you’ll see me on the roof of my house shouting and waving at passing commercial airliners, “HEY UP THERE! READ LORRIE MOORE. READ EVERYTHING SHE WRITES. LORRIE MOORE IS A GREAT WRITER!” New York Times review of A Gate at the Stairs.  Amazon link here>>

Excerpt from People Like That Are the Only People Here

by Lorrie Moore

“Healthy? I just want the kid to be rich.” A joke, for God’s sake. After he was born, she announced that her life had become a daily sequence of mind-wrecking chores, the same one’s over and over again, like a novel by Mrs. Camus. Another joke! These jokes will kill you. She had told too often, and with too much enjoyment, the story of how the Baby had said “Hi” to his high chair, waved at the lake waves, shouted “Goody-goody-goody” in what seemed to be a Russian accent, pointed at his eyes and said “Ice.” And all that nonsensical baby talk: wasn’t it a stitch? Canonical babbling, the language experts called it. He recounted whole stories in it, totally made up, she could tell; he embroidered, he fished, he exaggerated. What a card! To friends she spoke of his eating habits (carrots yes, tuna no). She mentioned, too much, his sidesplitting giggle. Did she have to be so boring? Did she have no consideration for others, for the intellectual demands and courtesies of human society? Would she not even attempt to be more interesting? It was a crime against the human mind not even to try.

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4. Silver Lined Cloud | Google Docs Gets Video

Google Docs

There are myriad reasons why you should get a Gmail account (yes, MW, I’m talking to you:) and now you can add yet another one to the list. Google offers a truly impressive array of free tools for geeks and luddites alike. There’s Gmail, Google Analytics, Google Keyword Tools, Google Docs, Google Maps, Google Places, the list goes go on forever. Did I mention all this is FREE?? So here’s the latest. You can now upload just about any kind of file to Google Docs – including video. AND you can play said video inside Google Docs. So if your work requires you to make, shoot or play video, and you collaborate with others on these projects, then Google Docs offers you a simple, free, user-friendly way to do your work online together. Welcome. More info here>>

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5. Poor Nation, Rich Nation | Hans Rosling’s Killer Visual Data Show

Good news alert! Sword-swallower and Swedish professor of global health, Hans Rosling has a message for those – no names please – who argue against the notion of progress. He’s got the data to prove them wrong. Rosling is a ham, but his presentation is pure genius. Data visualization, complex storytelling at its finest. Learn more here>>