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Archive for December, 2008

Kimberly M. Wetherell

Your Manners Are Showing: A Guide to Dating in the New Year

December 31st, 2008
by Kimberly M. Wetherell

BROOKLYN, NY –

Dating’s a bitch.

And this is the time of year when it’s easier to plop in front of the TV with a bottle of Veuve and watch a House marathon rather than suffer through, as the only single person* in the room, the forced jollity of holiday events.  You start to miss the days when your mother pestered you about your dating life.  Anymore, she just slaps on her Colorform smile, tells hyper-enthusiastic tales of others – who got married even older than you – and passes the twice-baked potatoes with a heavy sigh; resigned to the fact that the children born to your siblings are going to be the only grands she’s going to get.

(*For the record, no, my widowed grandmother does NOT count, thank you very much and besides, even she has a boyfriend, so suck it!)

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TNB TV

New Year’s Eve 2008

December 31st, 2008
by TNB TV

TNB TV 
This is Kenny G, and this is “Auld Lang Syne.” Farewell 2008!


TNB Photo of the Day

New Year’s Eve

December 31st, 2008
by TNB Photo of the Day


 

New Year’s Eve 
Please send us tales of your incredible debauchery: [email protected].


Smibst

Are You a Sports Guy or a Music Guy? Take the Quiz!

December 30th, 2008
by Smibst

PHILADELPHIA, PA-

I hang out with two groups of friends. One group I’ll call Sports Guys. The other, Music Guys. Which one are you?

Here’s how it breaks now: Sports Guys like some music, but Music Guys rarely like sports. Music Guys enjoy going to concerts and shows. Sports Guys grow annoyed by the term “shows.” Sports Guys go to one “show” a year, and that’s when their wives or girlfriends demand that they’re treated to the obligatory Bon Jovi concert that occurs in late July. A Music Guy would kill himself at a Bon Jovi concert.

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Bryan Richards

And So We Turn to “Prophets” to Show Us the Way

December 30th, 2008
by Bryan Richards

SEATTLE, WA-

“These are tough economic times.”

We hear that phrase so often these days that we’re likely to dismiss it as altogether benign and inconsequential. Most in this country don’t read, watch or listen to the news anymore, but for those of us that do that phrase is so overused that we’ve begun to turn the page or change the channel anytime we hear it.

I mean, we don’t need to hear about this Recession, Economic Downturn, Market Correction – whatever it’s called – so often that it makes our ears ring and eyes bleed. Most of us need only look into our own bank accounts to know that there’s a fundamental problem with our economic system. But, the talking heads keep babbling on, scaring us all into a frenzy of (dare I say) responsible financial behavior.

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Colleen McGrath

“Krank” or “Surviving the Flu in Germany”

December 30th, 2008
by Colleen McGrath

BERLIN, GERMANY-

Everyone in Germany talks constantly of illness.  It is a country of hypochondriacs and a country of contradictions.  The same person afraid of a drafty house will sit outside in winter, wrapped in a blanket and drink beer.  Fresh air is good for you, you see.   The person who rides his bike for exercise will do so while smoking a cigarette.  Explain that one.  And while a healthy lifestyle includes ample exercise, vegetables and bio-grown food, that exercise is tampered with plenty of smoking and drinking and veggies that are more often than not deep-fried and/or covered in cheese.  The aversion to actual medicine seems to come from a real distrust of the unnatural.  Herbs rule the day and are always the first line of attack.  No wonder everyone’s sick all the time! (more…)


Slade Ham

The Devil Thumbs a Ride

December 30th, 2008
by Slade Ham

HOUSTON, TX -

There’s no such thing as ghosts. I don’t remember where that quote is from, but it sums me up. I just don’t believe in the physical presence of any of the supernatural. I’m a hard one to convince. Don’t tell me a story, show me proof. Ghosts, demons, evil spirits… I am simply unafraid.

So when my brother, an incredibly logical, brilliant, well-grounded individual, told me that he was hearing demons… I was a little intrigued. Normal people don’t hear demons. Even crazy people don’t hear demons, they just think they do. He told me, however, that every time he crossed over a certain part of the road leaving his house he heard a deep, guttural voice telling whispering things to him. “I’ll figure it out“, he said. (more…)


Laura van den Berg

New Issue of Memorious

December 30th, 2008
by Laura van den Berg

BLOWING ROCK, NC-

As a staff member at Memorious, an online journal of new verse and fiction, I’m super excited to be announcing the release of the Fall 2008 issue. This fifth anniversary issue of Memorious features poetry and prose from Kevin Prufer, G. C. Waldrep, Kelle Groom, Todd Hearon, and B.J. Hollars, as well as a conversation between Alexander Chee and Sigrid Nunez, an interview with Larissa Szporluck, and some pretty awesome emerging writers.

About Memorious: the first issue of Memorious was published in 2004. Work first published in Memorious has been selected as a finalist for the Million Writers Award and has been reprinted in Best New Poets, Best of the Net, and Best of the Web. In our archives you can find work from Bob Hicok, Kim Chinquee, Major Jackson, Denise Duhamel, Steve Almond, and Benjamin Percy, to name a few, plus interviews with Pablo Neruda, Robert Creeley, Bill Knott, and Jim Shepard. 

If you have a little spare time, or need some good reading to help you recover from the holidays, go visit us! And, for the writers out there, if you think Memorious might be a fit for your work, you can check out our guidelines here



Savannah Schroll Guz

Most Children Left Behind

December 30th, 2008
by Savannah Schroll Guz

WEIRTON, WV-

In late November, the first of my final English 101 papers rolled in. I asked for a persuasive paper, explaining that writing is always an act of persuasion. The students’ audience: a Congressman. Their format: a letter. We’d had a regular essay-format persuasion assignment a month before. This time, I required students to turn in a series of drafts before submitting their final copy.

The first one, from a student who had pretty badly flubbed her literary analysis paper just before, arrived in my email box extra early. Running three pages, it was longer than the ‘effective paragraph’ I’d assigned. The chosen topic? She was asking for the mandatory sterilization of unfit parents.

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TNB Photo of the Day

Jasper Johns, “Target,” (1958)

December 30th, 2008
by TNB Photo of the Day

“Target,” 1958 
A painting by American master Jasper Johns.


TNB TV

Mortified: Melissa’s Pages of Rage

December 30th, 2008
by TNB TV

TNB TV 
Mortified: Behold Melissa’s pages of rage.


Gwenda Bond

Stolen Time

December 29th, 2008
by Gwenda Bond

LEXINGTON, KY-

So why is it that the holidays always feel apocalyptic? It can’t just be those grand fictional memories–you know, like what happened to Kate’s dad in Gremlins (”That’s when I noticed the smell.”). I firmly believe the Mad Max people missed an opportunity for some holiday crossover action (put that in your four quadrants and smoke it).

No, there’s something particularly bomb shelter in nature about the holidays’ particular brand of forced jollity and surprise, the frequent return to the too-close quarters of a car or plane, the silent desire of everyone to be somewhere else even if it’s only asleep. The neverending parade of desserts like a demented dream plucked from some underweight starlet’s head. The unceasing DREAD. Come on, this can’t be just me, can it?

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Rebecca Schiffman

Brain Feels Like Garbage Can

December 29th, 2008
by Rebecca Schiffman

NEW YORK, NY-

My brain feels like one of those toys you have to push to make little bright objects bounce around in a clear dome over a loud grating noise.  Or a bingo dispenser, lots of stuff cluttering around and occasionally something comes out.  Or a garbage can at a rich person’s house or in a knick-knack store that’s going out of business.  You can see some good stuff in there but when you reach in you have to cringe past some gross gunk like banana peels and uneaten noodles and worse and you feel your way in the dark to find the valuable bits that can be wiped off, de-grossified, salvaged for future use.

Not to be dramatic.  I just can’t sleep so I’ll see what I can find in here (pointing to head.) (more…)


TNB TV

Mortified: Leonard Knows Nothing About Sex

December 29th, 2008
by TNB TV

TNB TV 
Mortified: Leonard was a class know-it-all, except when it came to sex.


TNB Photo of the Day

Girl Walking Down the Street

December 29th, 2008
by TNB Photo of the Day


 

Girl Walking Down the Street 
This is a picture of a girl walking down the street.


N.L. Belardes

Robot Boys Of The Standard Hotel

December 28th, 2008
by N.L. Belardes

BAKERSFIELD, CA-

I didn’t know there were going to be robots.

I stood on top of the Standard Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. I had just sat in a red metal pod with Brenda Knight. “There’s going to be pods,” she said. She was right. There was also a swimming pool. A girl slipped into it, glided through the water. Buildings crowded all around. The U.S. Bank Tower with its thousand lit windows looked like it could grow feet, step over the Standard and run into the ocean. (more…)


Reno J. Romero

Janus’ Curse: Cigarettes and Doubt in the New Year’s Resolution

December 28th, 2008
by Reno J. Romero

LAS VEGAS, NV-

2009.

It’s around this time of the year that we reflect on the year that was. We look back at the months, the days - mind pushed in reverse, remembering things, conversations, people.

We do this. Every year like clockwork. Looking over our shoulder then looking straight. One foot inside the door, one foot out. It’s part of the deal.

Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows put his end-of-the-year-thoughts to song in “A Long December.” A beautiful tune loaded with nostalgia and hope. (more…)


TNB Photo of the Day

Graciela Iturbide, “Jaipur, India” (1998)

December 28th, 2008
by TNB Photo of the Day


 

Jaipur, India (1998) 
A photograph by Graciela Iturbide.


TNB TV

Bookworm Gets Booty

December 28th, 2008
by TNB TV

TNB TV 
Mortified: A bookworm gets some booty in high school.


Smibst

Teaching Abroad in Allentown, PA

December 27th, 2008
by Smibst

PHILADELPHIA, PA-

During the spring of 2008 I was selected among thousands of nominees to participate in the Fulbright teacher exchange program. My destination: Zhuhai, China, where I would spend six months teaching English to Chinese teenagers. Two weeks before my planned departure I received a fascinating phone call. Due to the economic recession, the Fulbright program was being modified and my destination altered. Instead of Zhuhai, China, I would spend the next six months in Allentown, Pennsylvania. I chuckled at this twist of fate and continued joyously packing my bags, eager to embrace this new cultural experience!

As I write this, I have just returned to my hometown of Philadelphia after a wonderful and thought-provoking six months in Allentown. Below are dispatches from my tattered travel journal. Enjoy!

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