Exhibit 22.24


It's always fun when you get to hear a speech that you can say with a fair amount of certainty will be played for tragic irony in movies a generation from now (I imagine it playing on an iPhone as Forrest Gump III kisses a girl dressed like Miley Cyrus as he graduates from the University of Phoenix). Which is not to say it's the wrong decision--I certainly wouldn't know--just that it is so clearly the only tenable one that the best anyone can hope for is understanding of that fact. There's no longer any real criteria for success and there may never have been--democracy! O!--but eight years later it seems silly to imagine we can just up and leave without consequences for ourselves let alone the men (and especially women) of Afghanistan and Pakistan. But it's equally silly to imagine that bullets in the service of a corrupt government will make anything better.

Which is why we get to again have speeches about exiting that somehow announce major troop escalations. Afghanistan is not Vietnam but it is not Iraq either. The "success" of "the surge" there would seemingly be irrelevant in this discussion but there's no denying it's attractive to ignore those distinctions. On the one hand you have the possibility of some protracted withdrawal that would attempt, pointlessly, not to lead to the fall of the government and regional instability and on the other you have the dream of just a few more months with a few more troops and...

It's easy to see the good that might be done. It's easy to see how no one else is willing to take responsibility for the world and feel like you have to. It's easy to see the odds of Islamabad's collapse following Kabul's and have your hand forced by terrifying hypotheticals.

Who knows. To paraphrase Kushner's Homebody/Kabul, "In Afghanistan, the choices are frequently narrow."


Exhibit 22.23

Things I Talked about at Thanksgiving

1. Stuffing

2. Bocce

3. Alan Alda

4. The People I Was Inexplicably Acting Like When Given Access to a Computer

5. Giving Thanks


Exhibit 22.22

You should check out the new Cincinnati Review which features a great poem from fellow Ulysses-class attendee Adam Day, a Malamud review from the lovely Erin McGraw, and a Tommy-inspired piece from the always incredible Kevin Wilson along with a lot of other amazing work. It's the first journal I've picked up in a while and started reading at page one. It felt good. Consider supporting them.

My thing is mostly notable for being an adaptation of a 2002 Clint Eastwood movie. There's an excerpt up on their website under Issues-->Upcoming if you want to read how I described his face. Here's a hint: grizzled.


Exhibit 22.21

This was when Brett could hide because she didn't have a cone on her head. What a magical time that was.

And, yes, my walls are that yellow and the things on them that middlebrow. Shut up.


Exhibit 22.20

The Post Where I Paste Things from Twilight Wikipedia Pages

* "In the months that follow, Bella learns thrill-seeking activities, such as motorcycle riding..."

* "Meanwhile, a series of miscommunications leads Edward to believe that Bella has killed herself."

* "The story opens with the revelation that Seattle, Washington is being plagued by a string of unsolved murders, which Edward suspects is caused by a new vampire that is unable to control its thirst for human blood. As Edward and Bella apply to colleges..."

* "Bella explains to Jacob that while she loves him, her love for Edward is greater. After receiving a wedding invitation from Edward, Jacob runs away in his wolf form to escape his pain..."

* "Edward, concerned for Bella's life and convinced that the fetus is a monster as it continues to develop with unnatural rapidity, urges her to have an abortion. However, Bella feels a pull towards the child and refuses to go through with the procedure."

* "Jacob, who was present for the birth, almost immediately 'imprints'—an involuntary response in which a werewolf finds his soul mate—on Edward and Bella's newborn daughter, Renesmee."

I needed to read all of that for my teaching. Well, not all of it. I'm just, you know, dedicated.

Seriously though, I had no idea those books were about an centenarian who picks up a 14-year-old, gets her pregnant, then urges her to "take in an Astros game." I would say the girl should have chosen the other guy, but the other guy somehow tops that by claiming her demon baby as his bride the minute it's born. So, um, I don't know, maybe she should try online dating. There must be some normal dude who likes motorcycles out there.

I have thought about this too much. I might need a new hobby. Or to be a worse teacher. Yeah, I'll go with that one.


Exhibit 22.19

Postcard to Houston

Dear Houston,

I don't think I'm going to be leaving my apartment anymore. Because now it's sort of cold. And because I think if I practice I can touch every wall in my living room at the same time.

You understand,



Exhibit 22.18

Words I Have Used in This Seminar Paper I Either Don't Know or Don't Want to Know the Meaning Of

Nouveau roman

I'm just kidding. I know the meaning of love:


Exhibit 22.17

What This Book Should Be About

Lance West is dirty cop who gets one last shot at redemption when the serial killer who murdered his young bride fifteen years ago reappears with a bloody murder in Lance's own precinct. As the body count rises and superiors deny any connection, Lance risks everything to find the man who killed his Julia and made him the hard drinking, do anything for a conviction cop he's become. Fifteen years ago he was a good cop looking to do right in an ugly world but since then he's sunk into the ugly himself. Now with the cold but beautiful Internal Affairs agent Thora Bounty investigating him as he investigates his wife's killer, Lance finds himself caught between doing what he has to do to avenge his wife and doing what's right. While Thora gets closer to uncovering a shameful secret in Lance's past, Lance gets closer to the Coat Room Killer, putting both Lance and Thora at risk...of dying...of falling in love.

What This Book Is About

I don't know, two dudes walking around Dublin not talking to each other most of the time.


Exhibit 22.16

A Complete Psychological Portrait of the Woman Who Lived in My Apartment at Least Two Tenants Ago but Whose Junk Mail Still Gets Delivered Here

Likes to Make Things but Not on Sunday

Works in Photography and/or Enjoys Professional-Grade Tripods

Enthusiastic College Donor, Banner Aficionado

Has a God

Wears Lane Bryant Clothes, Poses Oddly in Them

Appreciates Her God's Mail-Order Jewelry Company

Is Presumably Sad She Is Not Getting Her Mail

I can't even write her a letter and admit my feelings because it would just get delivered back to me along with some other guy's Amnesty International address labels and my own, um, Amnesty International address labels.

This one's for you, Lisa Tuggs formerly of Lawrence St.:

True love waits, Lisa Tuggs. True love waits.


Exhibit 22.15

Twin Peaks

As Carlin recently reminded us, it's important to watch the following video every so often. And, yes, you do have to watch the entire thing. Otherwise how would you ever learn the folly of recording a gratingly repetitive pop song about love in an unlikely falsetto while being backed by your current girlfriend and your recently dead girlfriend's identical cousin?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: rock n' roll only leads to trouble. Also leading to trouble: whatever this is.


Exhibit 22.14

Links/Not Links

* Tonight's Creation Festival at the D&N Event Center in North Platte has been cancelled. No word yet on whether or not this is related to the time "God" lit the old structure on fire with "lightning" to get the "insurance money."

* Every time I can reference something that happened in western Nebraska during the 1990s I feel like this blog is worth it.

* Mathias illustrates how I look like the guy from Party Down and pitches a screenplay. I like this for a lot of reasons, the greatest of which is that it confirms my theory that I know exactly who has seen Party Down and exactly why. Oddly, "It's a Starz network original!" is never why.

* I still think Mathias looks like a not evil/enoveralled Leo Johnson:
* Dave's book brings him in contact with people who work with lemurs.

* My book isn't going to have a ninth chapter.


Exhibit 22.13

A comprehensive list of things in the movie G.I. Joe that were silly, physically impossible, cameos from the guy who played Steve Nebraska in The Scout, vaguely racist, childhood defiling, problematically unaware of the laws of physics, problematically unaware of how ice floats, problematically set in 17th century France, irrationally costumed in rubber masks that had lips, not at all subtle in their winking at the old cartoons, ballistic missiles shot down with snow mobiles, starring a guy with a tiny head, unnecessarily Scottish, places we're expected to believe those guys from 17th century France named a prisoner Destro, summations of the plot only recently summarized only this time done in a Scottish accent, betrayed a stunning lack of knowledge about the U.N.'s role in the world, unexplained holes going deeper into the Earth when we were already pretty deep underneath the Earth, continuity errors, being tracked by beacons of the tracking variety, timely statements on the continued problem of racial profiling, national landmarks that got all Independence Dayed, chased, no really ballistic missiles shot down with snow mobiles, scenes in which the word 'nano' was said more than three times, Sienna Miller, unexplained instances of a small white child growing up alone on the streets of Tokyo, Dennis Quaid telling someone within a tenth of a percentile how awesome they are at being a G.I. Joe, problematically reinforcing the notion that the filmmakers have never seen water or ice and possibly not steam, a dude in a holograph physically interacted with an object in a way that seemed to need some sort of explanation like what is he seeing on his side of the transmission and what did he doing to the nanoweapons case holding the nanowarheads was it something that would make them more or less nano, or a Wayans:

1) Storm Shadow would totally wail on Snake Eyes


Exhibit 22.12

Heather Green's No Omen
Now Available from Love Among the Ruins

You've got to get it. Here's how:

$12 each or $20 for both. To order simply send an email to daniel@loveamongtheruins.com with your name, mailing address and choice of books. We’ll send you books and a bill.

It begins with this poem which I'm borrowing from Sixth Finch:
Awesome, no? Go order.

And if you're in New York, you can attend the release party tonight, November 4th, at Melville House Books. 7pm. Be there.


Exhibit 22.11

Postcard to Houston

Dear Houston,

Here, no one says I love you. They say I hope you're the one I'm talking to on my cellphone when I die on the freeway.

I hope you're the one I'm talking to on my cellphone when I die on the freeway,