Exhibit 27.20

Film Criticism

My review of the Swedish adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo:

My review of the Swedish adaptation of The Girl Who Played With Fire:

Look, all I'm saying is there might be better languages to use when having conversations about terrible crimes.

It's cool, I can say this because I'm sure it's true.


Exhibit 27.19


For the first time, The Cupboard actually needs checks. Previously we'd been able to get by with debit cards, PayPal, and loans from Dave and myself that never get paid back. But now we've made it (as indicated by us now having an archaic and senseless way of paying bills).

Ordering checks was not easy. The very nice, very American man from Deluxe was having some issues with our business model.

Me: They should say 'The Cupboard.'
Guy: Spell that.
Me: [Spells that]
Guy: O, right. Ka-pub-oar-ed.
Me: No. Cup-board. Like where you keep dishes.
Guy: What?
Me: You know, like where that Indian lives.
Guy: Cu-pa-boe-urd, right?
Me: Yes, exactly.

I just want you to know this so that when we write you a check, you know it's not actually from The Koopafort. It's from us. Also, the check is bad.


Exhibit 27.18

Tattoo Ideas for Someone Else Sorted by Decreasing Likelihood

Slipknot Concert Schedule on Back

Clip Art Cupcake

One of Mom's Christmas Quilts

Forever Stamp on Fists

Some unclear statement using The Illustrated Man's Cover

Tattoo Instructions


Exhibit 27.17


* Octopus 14 is now live and it's all long poems. It's amazing how this continues to be a journal that feels new every time out. This is from Jennifer Denrow's "The Personal History of Wind":

The people come from themselves. They’re the operations they couldn’t afford. On the other side of the room, they are dressed like clouds. We give them the personal history of wind. When it gets too loud, we shut the door and never go back. The room sits empty for months, filling up with the sound of each drama. We stop imagining what’s happening in the room, and later forget there was ever a room to begin with. Our participation in each other still occurs, but slowly, forgetfully.

* I don't know if I've mentioned it here, but Chris Higgs's novel The Complete Works of Marvin K. Mooney is now officially out. If you haven't already, pick it up right here.

* No link, but I just wanted to let you know that my first two picks in fantasy football were Shonn Greene and Ryan Matthews. My team is terrible. You shouldn't like me.

* Enjoyed this post by Erin Belieu titled "I Was a Teenage Poetry Bride." It's actually pretty surreal how often this still happens.

* I think I only wanted Shonn Greene because I wouldn't have been able to spell either half of his name correctly on the first try.

* We don't actually have copies quite yet, but we have updated the website for The Cupboard's next volume: Explanations by Andrew Borgstrom. Believe me, I'll post the full announcement, but feel free to check it out, pre-order, etc. Todd did a fantastic job with the cover we all think:


Exhibit 27.16

This Seems Relevant

Calculations by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and other independent fiscal experts show that the $1.1 trillion cost over the next 10 years of the Medicare prescription drug program, which the Republican-controlled Congress adopted in 2003, by itself would add more to the deficit than the combined costs of the bailout, the stimulus and the health care law.
From this New York Times article.

It's a little bit of a cheat as the health care bill actually reduces the deficit (due to spending cuts and tax increases) and so much of the bailout got paid back--plus the stimulus and bailouts were both one-time expenditures, not things that ostensibly benefit us for 10 years--but it seems like the sort of thing your average Democrat might want to mention every so often.

I know it's old hat by now, but it continues to be depressing how poorly the Democrats articulate their vision and successes. Like most us of, I don't want politics to be a debate contest instead of an arena where legitimate disagreements are resolved, but damnit if the people I (mostly) agree with are going to play this game, I suppose I at least want them to play it well.

It's unclear if the Democrats think they still live in a world where people trust the media to correct false narratives--not that I believe there ever was such a world--or if they really are so insecure in their own opinions that they feel it necessary to respond inarticulately to the 35 to 50 percent of people who will never vote for them anyway.

I mean, is it really so hard to defend the stimulus? Your opponent says spending, you say jobs. The end.

The rhetoric is on your side (jobs beats spending beats scissors). The facts are on your side (unemployment would be higher without it). History is on your side (1932). The world is on your side (most major economies did some kind of stimulus and, not surprisingly, the more they did the better they came out of the recession).

Now, I realize you're not going to want to stand up in front of your opponent who calls the president a socialist and say we needed to do what China did, but would it really be so much worse than the equivocating and the apologizing?


Exhibit 27.15


"Nobody cares but me."


Exhibit 27.14


So here's a picture of my shadow posted on Facebook:

I want, Pynchon-style for this to become the only picture of me. That way when I commit crimes, police will run it through the computer and look for this man:

Not that I'm going to commit crimes. Or at least not that I was going to commit crimes...before.


Exhibit 27.13


* In honor of yesterday's National Coming Out Day, you'll want to read Dave Madden's coming out story on his blog here. It's touching stuff though, I have to admit, I'm a little bummed to discover his "You will never, ever amount to anything..." sign was somehow indicative of his unhappiness. Who knew? That used to be my favorite thing about Dave. Maybe it still is.

* It's not exactly a coming out story--more self discovery?--but coincidentally I am teaching David Sedaris's "I Like Guys" from Naked in my class this week. Hadn't read/heard it in awhile but it's one of my favorites and students always seem into it. You should listen to him read it here. It starts about 3 minutes in.

* There's a new issue of the Denver Quarterly out and it's powerful awesome. I've only read around, but Shane McCrae's stuff is, as always, fantastic.

* I also was a big fan of Nathan Hill's very sweet story which includes this moment, "After she falls asleep, she stirs and rolls over and yawns widely and a small white mouse crawls out of her mouth."

* By the way, have you looked at the books the Poetry Center at CSU has out or forthcoming? Um, wow. Michael Dumanis and the rest of the folks there are...I don't know. What would the kids say? Killing it? They're killing something, that's for sure. Despair. They're probably killing despair.

* Next time I feel like saying something about MFA programs, I'm just going to buy one of their books. You should do the same thing. This way we won't be horrible people.

* O, and I have a few short shorts in the Denver Quarterly but you really shouldn't worry about that. They're mostly notable for including one that no one can tell my grandma about. It has nothing to do with her, I just, um, maybe borrowed her name. And maybe I said everyone with that name has extra toes. Maybe.

* But in my defense, it's a good name and I'm very sorry. My grandma does not have extra toes (as far as I know).

* Seriously, don't tell her.


Exhibit 27.12


A long time back when writing about The Silent Partner, I mentioned that Christopher Plummer had aged poorly. I owe Mr. Plummer an apology. Clearly, whatever terrible crimes his body is physically reacting to are not nearly as unique as I imagined.

I was watching Blow-Up the other day and was trying to figure out why the main actor looked so familiar. I would never have figured it out without IMDb.

Here's David Hemmings in Blow-Up:

Here he is circa-Gladiator:

I would have never figured it out because I couldn't have imagined David Hemmings was some deviant's Dorian Gray portrait.

Okay, so these movies were made more than 30 years apart and this is completely insulting to the very dead, very talented Mr. Hemmings. He's great as a narciss/misogyn-istic photographer in Blow-Up, a movie which relies entirely on his ability to embody contradictions without ever speaking to them. But there's something about that beauty-obsessed character ending up like, um, that, that's both depressing and entirely appropriate.

I mean, I know he's not that character but with those eyebrows, he was obviously some kind of character. So rest in peace, Mr. Hemmings, and for god's sake stop reminding us how this movie is going to end. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go buy a Bowflex and some eyebrow scissors. Those are a thing, right?


Exhibit 27.11

They Must Be Stopped

Yesterday I observed a 3rd grade classroom and came to this realization: 3rd graders terrify me. They're too smart and open and they're coming for us all. At every question they'd raise their hands, even when they didn't have an answer (especially when they didn't have an answer for some of them). Many had aluminum water bottles on their desks that they'd brought from home. Even I can't do this. My coffee travel mug--already a less healthy container--spends days in my car before I remember to bring it in. When asked to write poems, they couldn't help but be surrealists. One kid started listing off the Greek gods he knew while he scribbled sentences about the ocean. It was picture day, so they all looked like tiny lawyers. The Scholastic book orders I saw fulfilled were all about werewolves and war and o god they're short enough to hide below our knees.

Their dependence on the pencil sharpener is the only thing that might do them in.

And I contrast this to what I remember about the 3rd grade and can't help but think of all the ridiculous things I must spoken about seriously and how shocking it is that nobody took the time to kick me. The only Greek gods I knew had given their names to cars. The only thing I drank was all the cola. On picture day, I only parted my bowl cut more precisely down the center of my head.

Already I'm pretending that things being worse was better because while there were bowl cuts, there were not these precocious mysteries. But if you asked if this fear is how nostalgia begins, I wouldn't raise my hand to give you an answer.


Exhibit 27.10


To The Nebraska, Steves who (I think) won my fantasy baseball league this year. I say I think because I still don't really understand what's happening. I keep waiting for other people in the league to tell me that now the super playoffs begin and we all have to redraft our teams using only players from the 2002 Mets.

In any case, the victory is a fluke. I never knew what I was doing but had enough lucky waiver wire pickups to overcome clubhouse cancer Alex Rodriguez choking down the stretch. Mostly, my strategy of denying myself all non-Billy Butler Royals worked out. I think Royals GM Dayton Moore should try this himself.

The , Steves by the way take their name from Brendan Fraser's character in Albert Brooks's greatest work, The Scout. I'm not entirely convinced the movie wasn't just a hoax to get Bob Costas to have to say ridiculous things:


Exhibit 27.9


Here's how my life has changed since I discovered the Country Legends radio station:

* I now feel approximately times closer to George Jones.

* I have a close, personal relationship with Jesus. Also, Alabama.

* My definition of Country Music has been expanded to include anything I can imagine Robert Duvall having once heard, even if only in passing.

* My definition of Legend has been expanded to include Eddie Rabbit.

* When asked, I can give direction's to Texas's best two-step bar and politely suggest the questioner go on Thursday when there are margarita specials all night long.

* I hear "Ring of Fire" so often I hum it while doing unrelated tasks, like grading papers or hitting my head against a wall.

* Most of my time is spent writing letters to congress trying to get Charley Pride honored as a civil rights hero.