Inhuman Swill : December 2008

A trumpet demon

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RIP Freddie Hubbard, 1938-2008. He was probably the best trumpeter from the hard-bop era next to Miles Davis, though some poor choices starting in the '70s derailed a career that could have made him as much of a household name today.

But whatever. I'm going to put on Open Sesame and then Red Clay to work to this morning—not to mention that track "Zanzibar" from Billy Joel's 52nd Street where Hubbard lays down an amazing solo on the outro—and wish there were a heaven (or hell) where I could look forward to hearing him play like in his prime.

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You're shaking my hand with what?

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Still the best-ever vandalism of my Wikipedia entry:

Who can outdo it?

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Do not touch the art!

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So here at the WorkSpace, I've been writing a passage about a nanogoop-based painting that can fix itself if the image gets damaged. Here in the real world, there are some paintings with thick, ridged lines of textured paint on display in the hallway, and as I was walking to the kitchen for a glass of water just now I was tempted to grab one of the ridges and snap it off—like my protagonist had just done to his painting in my story. This is why I shouldn't be allowed near a keyboard. Or maybe near art.

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How the professionals do it

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Some questions for you other full-time writers out there. What are your work habits? How long a day do you write? Do you keep regular hours? Where do you work? How do you keep yourself going? What do you do when you get stuck?

I guess I'm not managing the transition well very yet, and I'm looking for some pointers.

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I found myself applauding Timothy Egan's guest column "Typing Without a Clue" from Saturday's New York Times. Not that I, as the author of a "riveting memoir" unsold "after 10 years of toil," feel any bitterness on the topic:

The unlicensed pipe fitter known as Joe the Plumber is out with a book this month, just as the last seconds on his 15 minutes are slipping away. I have a question for Joe: Do you want me to fix your leaky toilet?

I didn’t think so. And I don’t want you writing books. Not when too many good novelists remain unpublished. Not when too many extraordinary histories remain unread. Not when too many riveting memoirs are kicked back at authors after 10 years of toil. Not when voices in Iran, North Korea or China struggle to get past a censor’s gate....

With a résumé full of failure, he now thinks he can join the profession of Mark Twain, George Orwell and Joan Didion....

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I busted a gut watching Marc Shaiman's short revue "Prop 8: The Musical." Among the many celebrity cameos herein, my favorite is Jack Black's, who may be my favorite Jesus since Graham Chapman didn't play him.

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Roscoe Orman

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Hey, that was Gordon from Sesame Street on S5E4 of The Wire!

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This may be heresy, but I just don't feel as much compulsion to blog now that it's my own time I'm stealing as I did when it was my employers'.

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They call him Bruce?


Friday night we headed over to the Landmark Theater at the Century Centre for a late-night showing of the Bruce Campbell–directed Bruce Campbell flick My Name Is Bruce. My review is over at

If you have any scintilla of interest in the Campbell oeuvre, you should see this flick. Campbell is currently on a promotional tour, and you can check here to see if he's coming to your town (or, um, if he's already been and you missed it). His live, faux-hostile Q&A sessions after the movie are possibly more entertaining than the movie itself, and should not be missed.

We were lucky enough that Campbell's Burn Notice costar Jeffrey Donovan, who is in town appearing in Don't Dress for Dinner at the Royal George Theater, joined the Q&A here as a surprise guest. Laura, who is a big fan, just about lost her mind. Campbell and Donovan together were as funny and profane as fuck. My 13-year-old son, in town with us for Thanksgiving, was beside himself, and actually held his own with Campbell in an exchange about the movie Congo.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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