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Interview With Arthur Conan Doyle

Here is some incredibly charming footage of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle talking about his most famous creation, Sherlock Holmes. This just made my day, and my day was already going pretty well.

If you want an interesting story, look up the history between Doyle (a spiritualist) and post-escapist-career Harry Houdini, who went on to become a tenacious debunker of mysticism, seances, etc. Great stuff.


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New Addictions – Swagger, Sauviness, etc

I’m not a fan of addiction, despite sharing some fondness for the oft-heard mantra that anything worth doing is worth overdoing. If you need something, you aren’t as free as you might be.

That said, I’ve become a happy slave to an idiotic pastime.

If you’re in the mood to laugh, groan, and/or pick up some serious street cred, do this:

1. Go to a search engine

2. Type in variations of “How to be cool,” “How to be suave,” “How to be an alpha male (or female),” “How to be irresistible,” “How to flirt,” and then ONLY READ THE WIKIHOW articles, which are usually at the top of the results list.

This has come about largely because of all of the peacockin’ men who come into the library. The guys who come up swaggering as if they are being paid a fortune simply to exist are usually the ones who whisper, “Hey yo, where the books about being cool at?”

I can’t get enough. It’s been a while since I’ve laughed this hard. Wikihow. Do it.



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The Following Post Smolders


This is me as a sophomore, I think, in high school. It is crucial that I point something out: that hair is chemically straightened. That is a cultivated look. I had to have it, and I got it, by Jove.

If you could see the rest of the picture, you’d notice that I’m not wearing a belt and my legs are as thick as pencils.

Who, o who, was able to deny that smoldering lad?





Looking For Poetry Suggestions

Hi all, I’ve been in a poetry phase for a couple of weeks now. This is only strange because I don’t read much poetry, and have always felt helplessly clumsy when discussing it, or pretending to.

When I was a senior in college I took a modernist poetry class. At the beginning, we each had to tell a poet that we loved and a poet that we hated. I can’t remember who I said I hated, but I had two answers for poets whom I loved.

Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss.

I still love them, but am attempting to broaden my horizons a bit, to use a cliche that would be excised from any respectable poem, or so I hear.

So, over to you, geniuses. I’ve liked a lot of poetry from TS Eliot, Margaret Atwood, James Fenton, Dylan Thomas, Auden, and especially Rilke. I’ve mostly read Rilke in French, which seems to make anything sound lovely.

Do you have a favorite poet? A favorite poem? I’m in the mood to try out anything you’ll steer me towards.


Only Lovers Left Alive

I don’t go to movies very often, but I did it last night. Jim Jarmusch’s new movie Only Lovers Left Alive is one of the best movies I’ve seen in years.

There’s not much point in describing the story. Lovers is a movie that was all about the experience of how I felt while watching it. Tilda Swindon–absolutely couldn’t look away from her–and Tom Hiddleston are two vampires in love. They’re married. He is about 500 years old, and she’s a couple of millennia older.

Again, the story isn’t the point, but if I had to describe the plot I’d say:

This is about a week in the life of two vampires. He’s depressed and sick about how humans are treating the planet. She is calm, evolved, and has great taste in music. There’s no gore and very little blood. There is a lot of dancing and gorgeous cinematography. [click to continue…]


New Language Project

Hi all, if you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know about my language addiction. Every year I’m committing to breaking into a new language with daily study, while trying not to let the others backslide too much.

I speak and read great Spanish, serviceable French, and now I’m in the midst of adding Japanese to the mix. I’m much farther into spoken Japanese than I am into learning the Kanji characters, but am committed to a couple of years of studying both.

If you’re into this, the best source for spoken Japanese that I’ve found is the Michele Thomas Japanese CDs.

For Kanji, so far I’m doing well (I think) with the Sticky Study Kanji app on my phone, and a book called Remembering The Kanji.

Any Japanese speakers here? Any tips would be appreciated. Join me! There are few things I enjoy more than learning languages.




If you’re on Twitter, or online for that matter, you’ve probably seen the discussion of the hashtag #yesallwomen. This was a response to the hashtag #notallmen.

If none of that makes sense to you, I kind of envy you. An ignorance of social media would be a very nice thing once in a while. But if you’ve been following it, I’m interested in your thoughts. #yesallwomen has generated an enormous amount of discussion about women, sexism, abuse, misogyny, misandry (depending on who you ask), entitlement, sex, and on and on.

I don’t have much to add, but I’ll say this:

I am largely the man I am today because of the strong, kind women I’ve been lucky enough to have in my life. I owe them almost everything (love you too, dad, but I think you’d agree that we both lucked out!).

As to the harassment, sexism, and fear that women have to deal with every day, I won’t even pretend I can understand what it’s like.

But I will do my best to empathize and try not to contribute to the problem.

Grateful to all kind, decent, strong women today. Keep at it.




“You Don’t Have A Cigarette, maybe?”

Yesterday Max (my 6 year old) and I were walking across a crosswalk. The heat beat down and all was shimmering misery. Then a woman in a purple T shirt appeared. “You don’t have a cigarette, maybe?”

Max looked at her and said, “We don’t have cigarettes. We have Tourette’s.”

If you’re new to the blog, you might not know, but my son and I both have Tourette Syndrome. Mine is extreme, his is currently mild. But wow, this made me laugh.




I visited a local book club last night. Whenever I visit as an author, I get many of the same questions, but there are always a couple that surprise me. The surprising ones tend to be things like “Do you think you could ever be a shaman?” and “So just what is it about you?” Neither of which are as specific as the askers seem to think.

To the first: No, probably not going to ever be a shaman.

To the second: beats me. I’m a well-meaning lummox who reads a lot.

I did get a question last night that I’d like to address, and it’s something I’ve written about before.

Q. With the way your Tourette’s is, how can you be so confident? How can you stand to be out in public? [click to continue…]