No Drugs on Vacation

So I'm going on a little trip, a much needed one month vacation from Green Apple, San Francisco, and I think, my brains. Where I'm going doesn't really matter, what does is that I'll be catching a bunch of flights over the period of the next thirty some odd days. I've never really been a fan of flying. I try to stay within reach of the ground most of the time. So I'm saying that this will be something for me. I keep trying to have a sense of humor about it, think about this James Tate poem and just be cool-

We Aim to Please

I went to the cabin and said to
the pilot, "Excuse me, Captain, but it seems

as if I left my camera in the airport. Is
there a chance we could go back?" "No
problem," he said, and the plane began to
turn and descend at a tremendous speed. The
passengers were screaming and I was thrown off
my feet and struggling to stand. I crawled
back to the cabin and said, "Excuse me, Captain,
I found my camera after all. No need to return."
The captain said "No problem." And the plane
began its turn and rapid ascent, and I was
thrown backward again, and the passengers

were screaming even more shrilly. But soon
we were back on course, and the rest of the
flight went smoothly, and the landing
was perfect. As we lined up to depart, the captain
stood at the cabin door shaking hands with
the passengers. When it was my turn he said,
"What kind of camera do you have?" I said,
"I don't have a camera." "You're my kind of
guy," he said. And then he hugged me. And
I kissed him in the cheek.

God. That will probably happen to me.
So as I was saying, I'll be gone for April. Someone will most likely be blogging in my stead, but just in case there isn't I'll direct your attention to these other blogs that may fill the gap in my absence. These are things that I read on the semi-regular.

By Sam McPheeters


By Howard Junker


By Joe Preston


By some guy who is really obsessed with Henry Miller


By John K.


By Anders Nilsen

Or hell, I dunno, maybe just read a book. You've got your Wednesdays cut out for you. See ya' in a month.

Bad advice anyone?

You’re a Horrible Person, But I Like You: The Believer Book of Advice

Litquake, The Believer magazine, Green Apple Books, and the JCCSF present a book release event for You’re a Horrible Person, But I Like You—a new anthology featuring horribly bad advice from renowned comedians from stage and screen!

Thursday, April 15, 8 pm
Jewish Community Center San Francisco (JCCSF)
3200 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

Among the You’re a Horrible Person But I Like You contributors appearing
on April 15 will be:

  • Larry Doyle - humorist (with the New Yorker, Esquire and more), TV writer
    (The Simpsons, Beavis and Butthead), and author (I Love You, Beth Cooper)
  • Daniel Handler - author of three books for adults, and a series for children
    under the name of Lemony Snicket. He also plays a mean accordion.
  • Marc Maron - Stand-up comedian who has appeared on Conan and HBO among
    many other shows, radio host, author, top-rated podcaster of WTF
  • Eugene Mirman - Named Best NY Comedian by the Village Voice and one of the
    country’s best by Paste. Has appeared on Comedy Central as well as Flight of
    the Conchords

There will be a post-show wine reception in the atrium of the JCCSF!
Tickets are $20 and available online.

Jewish Community Center San Francisco (JCCSF)
3200 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

Poem of the Week by David Highsmith

Happy Monday, readers. Without further ado, here's the poem of the week, by David Highsmith.

for Scott Taylor

green light diffused within a fog
Irish parade cancelled in a plague year

warmth first, then time
spread out among the consequences

snaps loose into sensibility
sentient as
"the wind that shakes the barley"

day to carry us back
curious sound

carried then, as arms take in sky
swift voices in snow

silent herd, church & steeple
within a closed hand

a congregation
carried on the wind

--from your wilderness & mine by David Highsmith, BlazeVOX [books], 2009

So, You Liked The Lost City of Z?!

With everyone on vacation, some staffing changes, and changes to the store in general, we haven't really been up on our blogging...

That said I don't have too much time either.

I noticed that in the two months that the paperback of David Grann's The Lost City of Z has been out that we have already sold over 30 copies! There has been a lot of national media attention for The Lost City of Z (and it was a Green Apple Book of the Month when it first came out a year ago) and rightfully so.

Now there is a new David Grann collection out! Grann is a staff writer for the New Yorker and has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the New Republic.

The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession is a collection of some of Grann's most interesting and hard-hitting essays. Inside you will find questions on Texas' Death Penalty state, The search for the Giant Squid, the underground waterworks of New York City, the Aryan Brotherhood and their rise to power inside America's prison system, as well as other fascinating mysteries. Grann always investigates to the fullest, writes eloquently, and captivates the reader.

This is another great read...


I listen to my Abner Jay record when my dog or my wife dies. I listen to Abner when I am depressed but want to be depressed and think terrible. I listen to Abner when I drink too much gin at the beach or when I am turning Dolores Park into a prison. I basically play that Abner Jay record and listen to it over and over and over whenever I can. It is that good. Good for living in SF or Oakland. Good for Atlanta or the China. Good for under the river, sheets, or weather. Lord forget it, just get in it.

Listen to a really good song by Abner Jay HERE.

At the Green Apples Bookstore where I work there is the Mississippi Records vinyl release of The True Story of Abner Jay. There is also the Subliminal Sounds release of the Abner Jay CD, One Man Band, which has some different songs on it, but also some of the same songs too. I suggest both because they are so great.

Choose a Book. Change a Life in Mongolia.

Our friends at The Asia Foundation have launched an online book contest to send storybooks to fourth-grade students in rural Mongolia. In the contest, you can choose your favorite among five classic stories: Corduroy, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Make Way for the Ducklings, Where’s Spot, or The Little Engine That Could. Copies of the winning book will be sent to the fourth grade class of Khishig-Undur School, a school that serves the nomadic communities of a remote area almost 200 miles from the nation’s capital, Ulaanbaatar.

Here is a video featuring the students who will receive the books and Tungaa, a graduate of the school who now works with an Asian Development Bank program that helps rural migrants adjust to life in Mongolia’s big cities. In the video, Tungaa says she is “living proof” that “a single book can make a big difference.”

Your (free) vote will not only go towards sending a child a book, but also supports the programs of The Asia Foundation. A donor will contribute $1 for every vote cast, up to $10,000. Voting ends on March 29, so choose your favorite childhood story now!

[You may remember that I blogged in December about their last contest in Bangladesh. Click here to watch the video showing their return to Bangladesh with the winning book, Harold and the Purple Crayon.]

Poem of the Week by Brian Teare

Here's this week's poem by local poet Brian Teare. Enjoy the poem and this first week of spring.


(White Birch)

how a birch shirks its skins : strange
grain of the language of prayer : to disturb
words addressed to where God is is
what writing is : alphabet alive beneath
the alphabet so far into whiteness
each mind to itself creation come crawling
matter out of nothing : always
longing inquiries at the threshold a question
unanswered : not skin but the look
of skin : what once overheard the talk
of God became matter : ask the birch
did the soul have a choice :

from Sight Map by Brian Teare, University of California Press (2009)


I was cleaning my room recently and found a number of books I haven't touched in quite some time, Margherita Dolce Vita by Stefano Benni (who I've mentioned before) being one of them. Staring at the book made me think about its plot, characters and general form which Benni forced into my brain (the big, black, giant cube), when suddenly I couldn't stop of Montreal from playing loudly in my head; of Montreal's music somehow pinpoints the exact feel of Benni's story, its perfectness is uncanny.

Books, and literature in this specific case, can oftentimes transcend (for lack of better words) the means of its original presentation (i.e. book-->music, film-->book). Jean-Phillipe Toussaint's, Bathroom, can easily be compared to John Cage's 4'33. The narrator of, Bathroom, is excited by smallest of details due to where he is: the bathroom. Cage's piece is meant for the listener's experience to be based on the sounds occurring during the performance. Both are drastically affected by their surroundings. (The photo to the right is of Cage's performance of "Water Walk" in 1960).

Most fiction written by Haruki Murakami never fails to remind me of Wong Kar Wai's films. The dreaminess which Wong Kar Wai creates visually, is akin to the emotion Murakami pens. Even the Twilight series has forced readers to look for music which emulates (in one way or another) the books.

Obviously there are far more educational studies on this topic and I may just be rambling, but isn't it the stuff like this that gets you thinking, really thinking? What books remind YOU of other ideas/music/films/art?

Books, Cops, Dissent, Food

THIS really bummed me out last weekend. Sadly I haven't been able to find a video of Ward Churchill's appearance following up on the events the next day. He was well spoken, as he is known for being.

Find me in the philosophy section. I'm going to be reading up, trying to figure out why people are so intolerant of one another.

Oh, and we do carry Lierre Keith's book by the way. And I do recommend it.

Book of the Month: Monsieur Pain

Each month, we here at Green Apple choose a brand-new book for which we're evangelical. We even guarantee the book 100% or your money back. And when we get our act together, we produce a short video about our Book of the Month. This month brings both. Yippee!

We're grateful to director/remainder guy Nick "Buzzsaw" Buzanski and filmmaker/bartender Sean Sullivan for their efforts this month. Herein they reveal the complicated process of choosing the Book of the Month.

And here is Nick's blurb on Bolano's Monsieur Pain, because it's all about the books, right?

While everyone raves about 2666 and The Savage Detectives, most people are missing the true Bolano--the finished, polished, masterful Bolano. He has been published in America by New Directions since 2003, all of them masterfully translated by Chris Andrews (who has won two awards for his translations of Bolano).

This book is a strange and funny novel of the streets of Paris in 1938. Read Monsieur Pain and you will get a sense of what the Chileans knew well before his American "fame." --NPB

Silver Bells & Whistles: New Look of the NFL Post Season


The National Football League’s 2010/2011 post season will have a very different look. They have introduced a logo “template” for the Super Bowl, which will only vary slightly each year. The only differences from year to year are the stadium backdrop and the Roman numerals for the game. I would speculate the differences could be font changes and small additions. For example, adding palm trees for a game in Miami.
I don’t mind the fact they are going to a template for the Super Bowl, but I think the NFL has really come up short on the overall design. Its loaded with gradients, has no color, and Im not sure the silhouette shape (which is about as phallic as it gets) fits most applications. The majority of Super Bowl logos have been either horizontal, or balanced or “squared” which fits well on jerseys, balls, and field graphics. Also, as the numerals change every year, which creates some more design issues. The Roman numeral for 50 is “L” and having that placed underneath as is expected at this point, furthers the vertical presentation problem, taking away any visual strength from the bottom of the logo.
The only positive I can see is that the vertical design could force them to put the logo at the 50 yard line where it belongs. I hate when they put the Super Bowl logo at the 25s and the NFL logo at the 50, it looks so stupid. I always think the ball is at the 50 when it's really at the 25” – (fishheatcats) CCSLC forum
The execution isn't something I can look past either. If they said they were going to standardize the Super Bowl logo, and then came out with a great mark, the change would be easier to deal with. As is, though, we got a terrible design”. – Mike Kwitko (Ice Cap) CCSLC forum
Due to the crazy gradients, there are currently 3 official different ways you will see it used which are below. As the logo shrinks in size some of the reflective shapes are made simpler and flat. The logo on the ball is one color of silver/chrome so counting that, it brings the variations to 4.

Why design a logo that looks different everywhere you see it? In other words, the logo embroidered on a hat is going to look different than… the logo painted on the field, etc. For a league trying to maintain a consistent Super Bowl brand, I'm not sure this is the best option. When you create a logo that needs three different options in order for certain people to use it, it's not a well designed logo” – (MeetTheMets) CCSLC forum
The 2 things that are most important in design, especially logos, are color and shape. It’s the first 2 things the human eye recognizes. Silver/chrome/platinum is associated with elite status, wealth, and prestige, which works well for any championship logo, though im of the opinion that it should be used as a trim or secondary color. The lack of color really makes this a bland and dull object no matter how pretty the gradients appear.
"This new system takes away the uniqueness and individualism from the city that is hosting the event… I understand that the NFL wants a change in direction and have a cohesive logo system over the years but this new web 2.0 - gradient logo (and some 3D Depth for a punch) lacks emotion… I'm sure the campaign will look interesting animated and on the T.V but are they all going to be a stadium and the damn Lombardi trophy? To me that just lacks a creative vision.” - Justin Garrand, JG Designs

Below is the criteria to what I believe makes a successful logo. I have added my own rating of the Super Bowl logo to them, to see how well this was executed.
Visibility - moderate
Application - fail
Distinctiveness - fail
Color - fail
Simplicity - fail
Retention - pass
Timelessness - fail
Equity - …
Modularity - moderate
Descriptiveness – pass
If the XLV logo were just a one-off, like all previous Super Bowl logos, I still wouldn't be a fan, but I wouldn't hate it. It's a perfectly appropriate logo for a Super Bowl in the Big D. No local flavor to speak of, but it certainly captures the soulless, corporate identity of the host team, so it's just fine. My only problem with it is the fact that it represents a move toward standardization that will choke off any new, different, or interesting Super Bowl logo design for years to come” – Scott Rogers, (Ballwonk) CCSLC forum

After forty-four years of creating new logos for each Super Bowl game, I can see why the NFL would want to standardize the process, I am sure it is no easy task for client or designer. But it comes at the expense of almost commoditizing the event, as something that the NFL merely produces the same way each year, over and over without giving each year… the individuality it deserves. But let’s assume the strategy is correct… The execution is simply boring and I can’t imagine it getting more exciting as years go by. Celebrating the stadiums in the logos seems to me the strangest thing to do, especially when you get to structures that aren’t as relatively exciting or with iconic features as the Cowboys stadium. Once you remove the Vince Lombardi trophy shiny effect, the logo is just a clunky bundle of elements” – Armin, Brand New blog

The NFL hasn’t stopped there. It would only make sense to “fix” some other logos to create a modern look and establish brand consistency. Their next project was updating the Conference logos and Championship trophies named after Lamar Hunt and George Halas. I do agree that the AFC and NFC logos need and upgrade as do the trophies. But once again im not impressed.
They had the right idea for the Conference logos by changing the font and incorporating 4 stars into each one (representing the 4 divisions). Seeing them both next to each other though looks a bit weird. The row of stars are at different angles and the kerning space is also different. It just leaves me thinking, “there must be a better way”.
The trophy design seems to be an easy cop-out; a shiny football. Though, all we can see from the current pictures is a side shot, Im not sure how that negative space “wire frame” will look at different angles. I will assume it will always read as a football but again we get a really bland and unimaginative design. With the NFC and AFC trophies being identical, why even give them 2 different names? Theres no personality or anything distinguishing between them. Further more, it just reminds me of the BCS trophy.

I really like the idea of the Championship game logos, being illustrations of the trophies, borrowing the concept of the Super Bowl logo using the Lombardi trophy. That dosnt mean the execution is excellent though. You’ll see these on tv, in print, and painted on the field. Surely there will be multiple versions of these logos as well as it poses the same problems with the gradient. At least they have that consistency.
What I can't figure out is why the playoff logos were even changed. I think the old ones coordinate quite well with the new combine, mini camp and draft logos. The shield was a nice little element to base the brand on, if you ask me”. – Andrew Harrington, CCSLC forums

Since the NFL has gone this far in their identity make over, why not do the preseason logos as well? This is where I give them a pat on the back. These logos look good. Theres consistency, color, and they actually work. Unfortunately, its only a slight upgrade from the previous logos (which also reflected the Championship game logos). It leaves you wondering why they didn’t just continue with the style they had and applied these shield/banner designs to the new post-season marks.
My biggest problem I have here is it may be that the series is too consistent and lacking anything unique between the 5. I liked the idea of using a green banner for the camp logos, which implies the players are actually getting on the field for the first time in the season. I can look past that though, the identical shield marks are cool, but whats with the emphasis on “camp” in MINICAMP as apposed to TRAINING CAMP? Sure the way they did it fits the banners best, but again im left thinking “there must be a better way”
My thoughts on the whole NFL re-load is that they had good intentions, some good concepts, but overall took a huge step back with their branding identity. It lacks creativity and in many cases common design sense. I don’t blame Landor Associates though, this is squarely put on the NFL. Theres a saying that goes “you cant create great design if the client wont let you”. Landor has a design brief they must follow which is issued by the NFL. The concepts are created based on said brief, then presented and approved (hopefully) by the client. The North Texas design committee is then left to work with whatever is provided for them.
The NFL is not the victim here; they are the bully. The designer (even Landor) rarely, almost never, is in a position to tell the client, ‘This is the direction we're heading, and this is how it's going to be.’ Especially if the client is paying [this] much. In fact, a lot of this work was taken out of the hands of Landor and done by the NFL's in-house designers, which I'm assuming is why the Playoff logos look like Roger Goodell's secretary did them in Microsoft Word”. – Anonymous member, CCSLC forums
The last thing id like to touch on is how the identity affects the brand. (Identity = combination of logo, type, and tone work together to form a message. Brand = perception formed by the audience. Only audience can make the brand. Designer forms foundation with logos and identity). I believe a lot of NFL fans will not mind the switch to these new marks and it wont affect their perception of the brand. If anything, the introduction to something new and fresh may be very attractive to the younger fan. Still, taking account of what I have discussed in this article, and the NFL’s wider (older) audience this certainly has a lot of potential to be the next Crystal Pepsi.

The Super Bowl is a strong product, one that has a lot of substance underneath their graphic identity. The 2010 Super Bowl was the most watched in history. This isnt like changing the logo of a team, where people have a very strong emotional attachment; a mark of their own “tribe”. This is the Championship series of the game they love. Remember, these logos are a way of communicating the NFL’s message of their product, which has been growing since the 1930s and if this logo system fails, the worst thing (or best thing?) that will happen is they will go back to the one off logos each year.
“It was a tremendous learning experience. I still think it's the best idea I ever had, and the worst executed… People were saying we should stop and address some issues along the way, and they were right… Once you have a great idea and you blow it, you don't get a chance to resurrect it.” - David C. Novak, Yum! Brands Chairman (Crystal Pepsi)

Which leads me into another important part of brand culture: history. The NFL is rich with its history and traditions, even if it sometimes exploits it as a money making gimmick (throwback uniforms) they do a great job in honoring those traditions and catering to their older audience and roots. But now the games’ Championship tradition has been taken away and replaced with blinged-out sham-mockery. There are plenty of successful brands who have terrible identities. One thing is for sure though, the NFL is not going to suffer any huge loses. No fan will stop watching the games because of bad logos. If that were the case, the Browns wouldn’t have any fans. Or the Redskins
Their [NFL] history IS change, their tradition IS that the logo was tailored to each year..…it's how the public reacts that may determine whether or not this sticks. Cities go out of their way, spending millions on infrastructure, to prepare for the Super Bowl being hosted there. You better believe they'll be fights about the branding if they look the same as XYZ city before them.” – Rob Loukotka,, Brand New comments

If there's a long term cost savings, it seems minor compared to the potential merchandising money for unique solutions. If my team wins the Super Bowl, I want to buy a cap with that year's logo. If it looks just like the previous year, my interest would drop. It's a surprising move for the NFL, who routinely cranks out novel items like throwback jerseys just to make a buck. Are they actually turning away money for the sake of consistency? Creatively, the Super Bowl has been THE forum for aspiring ideas in advertising. Shouldn't the logo be part of that?” – Eric, True Story Inc. Brand New comments

“… I like this better than the past four or five, but it is very unsatisfying. They replaced the pageantry with majesty and took much of the fun out of it in the process… for the game itself, it needs color, it needs fun, it needs vitality, it needs to signify reaching a destination (beyond the literal)”. – Eighthaves, Brand New comments

Super Bowl logo history

Further Reading:
2011 logo is first of NFL's standard look
ESPN – Calvin Watkins
The New Superbowl Logo: When The Mainstream Sports Media Comes Up Empty – David Glisan
Brand New
Click Here to Read

We (Heart) Our New Kids' Section

Every September when we put our huge calendar selection out, we need to move things in the store around a bit to make room for them. And every year when calendars go away in late January, we need to move things back. We always use this as an opportunity to mix things up a bit- expand sections that are selling well, shrink sections that aren't. If you've been in the store at any point in the last six weeks, you've noticed that we did more shuffling around than usual. We shrunk CDs a bit, and moved old-fashioned records more towards the front of the store. Travel books moved over to the annex, graphic novels moved to the front of the store. And so on.

And maybe one or two of you noticed that our children's book section has moved. It always felt a bit cramped in its old digs, so we decided to move it up to the mezzanine and give it some more space. In the coming weeks we'll be putting down a nicer floor, get a rug for the young ones to sit on and a nicer table and chairs than the ones you see pictured here. And we're hoping to start a Sunday morning story time soon. If you don't get our email newsletter, you should sign up here.


My roommates and I were watching that old Marlon Brando movie The Wild One a while back, the premise of which is a bunch of bikers getting scolded by small townies for partying too much (well, basically). At some point not too far in to the film someone commented on how 'gay' the main characters, especially Brando, look. The tight jeans and leather jacket combo, that once meant 'bad boy,' has long since transmogrified, and in this day and age the face of masculinity is much different. In The Wild One, Brando looks like something straight off of Tom of Finland's desk. Familiar?

I'm not gonna' lie, Tom of Finland's illustrations aren't really for everyone. Heck, it's probably for very few in the grand scheme, but in all honesty, I'm an admitted fan. Aside from the big remaindered Taschen collections of his work (kept upstairs next to exhilarating titles such as The Big Penis Book, and Japanese Bar Girls Bare All) most of his books would be found in the fantasy and erotic art section of Green Apple, the most puzzling section that I am set to the task of maintaining. There, amongst the Boris Vallejo and Hajime Sorayama collections, Tom's work stands out- and not just because of its blatant homosexual content amid a myriad of clearly heterosexual artists. There is something in Tom's work that is inherently subversive.

Tom's drawings were appearing in 'men's health magazines' before the closet door had a handle. He was questioning gender roles and above all, authority. This was a time when most countries in the world still held on to archaic 'acts against nature' laws (Tom was born in nineteen twenty). Still it was not until the nineteen seventies that Tom began to receive public recognition. Fashion designer Viviennen Westwood picked up on Tom's art and incorporated it in to her own back in the heyday of UK punk, sometime before the genre had become a parody of itself. Floating around somewhere out there are some very famous photographs of Sid Vicious wearing her designs which feature Tom's art.

I suppose what fascinates me is (aside from the fact that his drawings crack me up), is the concept that two yoked dudes getting sweet on each other is so appalling in this world. Maybe I've been living in The Bay Area too long to understand. Regardless though, I'm happy Tom's work is out there, and I'm happy that he made it safer for us all to be a little weirder.

Touko Laaksonen (Tom's real name) RIP (and Marlon too).

Poem of the Week by Kit Robinson

Happy Monday. Here's this week's poem:


In poetry
you are given all the letters
and have to arrange them yourself

On a wall
in the next episode
you are a married couple with kids

Going between three houses
to pick up stuff
along a narrow stair

You are glad to be out of there
invigorated, unencumbered, hopeful
passing by the window of another

Man who knows you
roughhousing with a massive, naked bald woman
her husband comes in and says, "Walnuts!"

The sea is the color
of poetry
as defined in a guide

To leading questions
left out to dry
in the sun

The fish live under
the sign of the pelican
in a sea of answers

Not written in any book
the kids went back up to the house
you taste rock

And the salt stings your eyes
20 Spanish mackerel
in point of fact

Your pen is leaking water
like newly real details
of the world at large

by Kit Robinson, from The Messianic Trees (Adventures in Poetry, 2009)

Book of the Month/Books in Translation

Even with the amount of press that Roberto Bolaño has had over the last couple years, even from us, and with Horacio Castellanos Moya's- an author who's books She-Devil in the Mirror and Senselessness I consider to be a couple of the best books I read last year- article Bolaño Inc. damning North American press as being "squeezed dry", I would like everyone to read Monsieur Pain, the latest of Bolaño's novels to be released from New Directions.

My reasoning is this: Bolaño has been over marketed in the United States, primarily for Savage Detectives and 2666, both of which I found to be unstructured and a little to rambling for my liking and both of which I felt seemed a little unfinished.

But Bolaño is a master. He knew that his short fiction, short stories or novels, had to be exact and precise. This is the Bolaño that New Directions has been putting out since his death in 2003. These are books where every word matters, every action, description, and character planned out. They are books that deal with love, death, paranoia, and corruption. Monsieur Pain is no different.

Monsieur Pain is trying to cure César Vallejo, the Peruvian poet, who is on the verge of hiccuping himself to death from an undiagnosed illness. Meanwhile Pain is wandering through Paris trying to tie up the mystery that surrounds him.

If you want to read the true Roberto Bolaño, read Chris Andrews' amazing translations from New Directions...and why not start with Monsieur Pain? I guarantee you'll like it.

Thanks BoingBoing!

Short but sweet from my side...

Another insightful post on caught my eye this morning...

I'll just let the fine folks at The Journal of Electronic Publishing that this interesting notion from here!

p.s. - joe hill just stopped by and signed copies of his new tome, Horns. get them while you can!

Inspirational Clothing

I hoarded absolute crap for a long time. In fact, I still do, but the most extreme of my pack rat tendencies have waned significantly over the course of many moves. I now allow myself to pass broken furniture and warped records on the street. I've even managed to part with much of my absolute crap collection. Of course a few precious items still remain, but these are the ones embody the whole reason I started rooting around in dumpsters and hauling all this whatever around in the first place (or at least that's what I tell myself). A fine example of one of these items is my crazy psychedelic cat shirt.

In the height* of my junk collecting days I found this shirt in a garbage bag on Polk Street, not far from where I worked at the time, Out of the Closet. I believe it was 2004 or so. I remember I had just started that job. When I found it I was on my way from OTC, walking toward my buddy Mike’s house. Mike let me in to his place, and upon entering his bed/living room I immediately focused on a book laying open on the bed, a psychology text with the exact image on the shirt printed on one of its pages. I made a comment about my find, showing it to him. He explained to me who Louis Wain was (note the kind of awesome typo in our website's description of the book I just linked to there), and told me the whole deal with his crazy cat drawings. A long obsession with outsider artists began for me, finding myself especially fond of art by the mentally affected. I became aware of the existence of a whole mess of intriguing painters and illustrators- Henry Darger, Adolf Wolfli, Alexander Lobanov** (my all time favorite next to George Herriman probably, but Herriman wasn’t a violent deaf mute) to name a few.

Anyway, the Louis Wain shirt has been on my back more than any other since its inaugural wash. It has traveled with me on just about every trip I’ve ever been on, and has won me compliments and interesting conversations with people of all walks (a pretty unforgettable one with a cop in Austin TX deserves honorable mention). Sadly though, it's now so torn up I can't be wearing it to Green Apple anymore. Too revealing. In fact it's so thin I'm going to have to slow its rotation down altogether. I’ll miss it when it totally goes, so from now until then it’s gonna’ have to be a special occasion shirt, treated with dignity and respect.

* “Height,” meaning I was still willing to root through a dirty garbage bag just sitting on Polk Street.

** As far as I'm aware Lobanov did not make enough art (or at least capture a large enough audience) for anyone to publish a collection of his work. Documentaries on him as well as images of his work are widespread online. I highly recommend taking a look.

A new book I like: Chasing the White Dog

We just received one of my favorite non-fiction books of the last year or two, Max Watman's Chasing the White Dog: An Amateur Outlaw's Adventures in Moonshine. I'm surely not the only who wonders why it's OK to make your own beer, cheese, wine, or jam, but not liquor. The answer, and so much history, chemistry, adventure, tomfoolery and even NASCAR, are within.

If you're at all interested in moonshine, southern culture, the feds, tax evasion, boutique liquors, or how to make your own hooch, I promise this book will be interesting and fun.

Poem of the Week by Kenneth Irby

Here's this week's poem. Enjoy.

[etude homage, Religio Medici]

How we outlive our notions of ourselves
and never know the others in there all along
give them away, become them
only at a stretch imagine
and the stretch is good
the old deep topaz Madeira glow
the pole of the day slowly turns on in its stared down into depths
taste the nigh noon pass!
the tongue decides
better than hands the layers of the day
for the other, I use it but like my Globe
and turne it round sometimes for my recreation
. . . yet to begin the Alphabet of man

by Kenneth Irby
from The Intent On: Collected Poems, 1962-2006 (North Atlantic Books, 2009)