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(part of my ongoing Unexpected Literary References series)

Season 1, episode 15 (“Star Trek”), of the always entertaining “American Dad” plots the sudden rise of Steve Smith as a children’s book author. This premise, of course, is perfect for literary nods. Strange, though, that I only caught two.

Dr. Seuss' First Typewriter
Nod to Stephen King in the opening gag

See the entire episode here:

Additional hilarious photo (I paused the embedded video at just the right/wrong time):

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The December 31st, 2010 episode of the New York Times Review of Books podcast focused on a conversation on the relevance of professional literary criticism, especially in respects to the ‘everyone does it’ mentality associated with Amazon book reviews, Facebook statuses, and amateur lit crit blogs. Though the entire conversation was extremely interesting, the following point was especially intriguing. Said Katie Roiphe, a professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, about the current position of a critic in relation to what so many people want to call today’s death of literature (slightly paraphrased; dates are my insertions):

It is tempting to say that we live in this dangerous death of literature, but the critic has always said that. If you go back to Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), if you go back to Dwight Macdonald (1906-1982), Randall Jarrell (1914-1965) and their generation. There is something romantic for the critic to see themselves as this lone, embattled defender of the culture against the vast desert that is our uncaring population.

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During 2010 I went from a seldom-posting recluse to an annoying gnat. But apparently some people like being bothered by insects, because a few of my posts actually rose out of the white noise to become respectable accidental meant-to-search-for-porn landing pages.

#1 | Great Unexpected Literary References (posted in June)
Top entrance keywords: literary references, literature references in family guy, south park literary references, simpsons literary references, family guy brian great expectations reference

#2 | Peter Griffin does porn and literature

Top entrance keywords: peter griffin porn, griffin porn, caleb porn, porn in literature, porn literature

#3 | My 2010 Lit Midget list of forthcoming small press books

Top entrance keywords: midget list, noah cicero the insurgent, “noah cicero”, “termite parade”, “letter machine”

#4 | You decide what I wear; voting for the Stranger Will cover

Top entrance keywords: stranger vote 2010 nov, stranger vote november 2010 (most of the visits for this page came from direct referrals)

#5 | Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” mentioned in The Simpsons

Top entrance keywords: the lottery the simpsons, the simpsons the lottery, the lottery simpsons, simpsons the lottery shirley jackson, the simpsons + the lottery

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The beer bottle label is grossly misappropriated real estate. When sold as a six- or twelve-pack, the bottle label is hidden by the outside packaging. And nobody buys a single bottle of beer. So why not use the label for something more than null-advertising? We drink for the morning after stories over greasy breakfast, so why not pull those stories back by a few hours and give them when drinking?

The content of the stories could be anything from true life tales of drunken debauchery, to short fictions that somehow involve drinking, to short bios of famous authors (and their drunken exploits), to stories that incorporate the unique canvas (stories about glassblowers or, if drinking a red ale, vampires).

For those advertising traditionalists, the label facade could be left intact, reserving a hidden underside for the story. Think the way cigarette cartoons often display coupons.

Attention investors: money please!… Read the rest

I bring you #5 of a hopefully long-lived series: Kansas City Reading Coves.

When I can, I like my coves like my vaginas: humid and labyrinthine.

Today’s cove: Outlaw Cigar (south) – 13700 Metcalf, Overland Park, KS 66223

I’ve avoided this place for two reasons: 1) it’s a 30 minute or so drive from my house, and 2) the cigars are crazy expensive. The only time I came in here prior to today’s visit was a few months ago. That visit allowed me to not only witness the aforementioned crazy expensive cigars first hand, but also to glimpse the cigar lounge. From my vantage near the cash register I saw only a few leather couches and a TV mounted to the wall. Nice enough, but not nice enough to pay more than twice the standard going rate for a cigar. I left, planning never to return.

Then today, I had a few hours to kill and was in the neighborhood, so I decided to take a deeper look.… Read the rest

shredded book

Chris Deal (author of Cienfuegos), Sean Ferguson, Anthony David Jacques, and Tim Beverstock discuss the life of a writer. Where does appropriate pride in a writer’s work and overt egotism intersect and is there a definitive line to be drawn between the two. Get ready for some personal introspection from these four fantastic writers. (more…)