Is The World Getting Better, Not Worse?

January 31, 2012 — 0

Whatup, world.  Hasn’t it been looking like our shit’s pretty doomed?  
It’s not, says Matt Ridley: “Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down all across the globe.  Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the internet, the mobile phone, and container shitpping are enriching people’s lives as never before.”  
Tough time for a book like this, but Matt makes a solid case for those wishing to go to sleep a little happier tonight…
“The bottom-up world is going to be the great theme of this century.  Doctors are having to get used to well-informed patients who have researched their own illnesses.  Journalists are adjusting to readers and viewers who assemble their news on demand.  Broadcasters are learning to let their audiences choose the talent that will entertain them.  Engineers are sharing problems to find solutions.  Manufacturers are responding to customers who order their products a la carte.  Genetic engineering is going to become open-source, where people, not corporations, decide what combinations of genes they want.  Politicians are increasingly corks tossed on the wave of public opinion.  Dictators are learning that their citizens can organize riots by text message.”
– Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist
Still, if you want help preparing for the Apocalypse, click here.
Also check out Matt’s latest column in the Wall Street Journal: “Where Blue Eyes Came From.”  It’s about how culture changes genes.


Jonathan Safran Foer’s TREE OF CODES

August 7, 2011 — 0

All year, I’ve been studying car manufacturing processes (complicated) and the history of soda bottling (simpler but with more bullies), so it’s refreshing to come across a short film on the manufacturing of my friend Foer’s ambitious little book, TREE OF CODES.

Published last year, TREE OF CODES required a painstaking process in which chunks of Foer’s favorite novel, “The Street of Crocodiles” by Bruno Schulz, were cut and reassembled into a brand new narrative. (I woulda chosen some Yo La Tengo for the music bed, but they went with “The Last of The Melting Snow” by Leisure Society.)   Here it is:

Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer: Making Of from Visual Editions on Vimeo.


Walt “Clyde” Frazier Killin’ It Last Night On MSG

February 24, 2011 — 1

God bless Walt “Clyde” Frazier for keepin’ on keepin’ it real, yo — on TV, bitches!  (And thanks to Dan Beers for the photo and the heads up.) Clyde’s book, Rockin’ Steady: A Guide To Basketball & Cool, is one of my all time favorites. It’s the definitive “how to” for stylin, groomin’ and generally rockin’ steady in your all-around game with ladies. I keep it with me always.

Here’s the old school cover from 1974:

And the new cover from the reissue:

And a shot from the book:

I tried to get Spike to adapt the book (and Clyde’s life story) for film or TV 10 years ago, when I worked for him. I feel like it almost coulda happened. It’s not like they don’t see each other every night at the Garden, so I’m still holding out hope.


Buying Shitloads Of “Zilch” by Nancy Lublin

June 23, 2010 — 4

Super lavish party last night for Nancy Lublin’s new book, ZILCH.


I walked in with the new Justin Bieber special issue of SEVENTEEN MAGAZINE, under my arm, which Seventeen’s Editor-In-Chief Ann Shoket had given me in the car on the way to the party. (Ann grabbed it back to give to a very cool 8 year-old girl who was at the party, so now I have to buy my own unless Ann messengers me one today, as promised.)

After my Bieber mag got stolen from me, I went looking for Nancy (hard to miss in her orange leather jacket, which matches the cover of Zilch). While I congratulated her on her very excellent book, and wondered how the F she ever had time to write it, Nancy took the opportunity to passionately admire my glow-in-the-dark Silly-band bracelet. My bracelet happens to be a great example of the power of zilch.

silly band

This book literally makes you smarter. And when Nancy Lublin gives you a chance to tap your inner Nancy Lublin, you take it. So today I am buying a shit ton of Zilch, and I will give free copies to anyone who wants one.

Gotta go, Nancy is calling and wants to know how many copies I want. I’m gonna say a hundred, for starters.


“How To Be Inappropriate”

August 3, 2009 — 4

Zoo Press published my book of poems, THE COP WHO RIDES ALONE, in 2002. I think like 25 people bought a copy, and that’s ’cause they were just being nice or are in my family. Then they all sold their copies back to The Strand and Amazon.

By the way, you can buy this amazing book right now for $1.82

In the absence of publishers’ marketing budgets for books not written by celebrities and their mistresses, it’s funny what people will do to get you to care about a book they’ve written.

Sloane Crosley wrote a book called I WAS TOLD THERE’D BE CAKE. I am going to go buy it. To promote her book, Sloane made dioramas. Yes, dioramas. Witness her moment of eureka as she had the idea:

Plexiglas! Yes! It was like The Graduate redux. I could turn my essays into three-dimensional dioramas and at least attempt to make them as detailed as the ones I used to make with my dad. So I picked three essays—“Sign Language for Infields,” “Smell This,” and “The Pony Problem.” I figured they were the most visual and that they would lend themselves the best toward diorama production.

They’re actually kinda cool-looking:

And there’s even a music video: