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Archive for May, 2009

N.L. Belardes

Summer Reading For Kicking It At The Food Court And Other Strange Places

May 31st, 2009
by N.L. Belardes

BAKERSFIELD, CA-

It’s summer. You’re lazing on the patio and you’re ready to escape to another world. But you haven’t gone to the bookstore for your summer reads. In fact, you’re not even sure what to buy. You just know your mind needs to take you really far away. Don’t worry, your summer reading list has arrived:

Action-Adventure: Back in the 1970s, reading “Jaws” (or watching the movie) kept your grandpa out of the water and in a paranoid fit. Look no further, the fourth installment of Steve Alten’s MEG series was recently released. We’re talking 76-foot sharks and a lost world of monsters tucked away beneath ocean plates. Turn on the grill but make someone else cook. “MEG: Hell’s Aquarium” is an addictive heart thumper. When I asked Alten to describe his book in a short sentence, he said: “The most frightening sea monsters in history…are no longer history.” Yikes. (more…)


D.R. Haney

The Assholes

May 31st, 2009
by D.R. Haney

LOS ANGELES—

It was the Saturday night before Halloween, and a friend’s band was playing at a party at a gallery not far from my apartment in Echo Park. I was in a bad mood, though I don’t remember why, since this happened a couple of years ago. Then, too, I’m frequently in a bad mood, which I consider a natural byproduct of being a writer.

Anyway, I drove over to this party and parked a few blocks away, about to head inside when I ran into my buddy Pete on the sidewalk. Pete’s one of The Assholes, as this particular group of my friends sometimes refer to themselves. I’ve always maintained that I’m not really an asshole (despite being one of The Assholes), but I can certainly act like an asshole on occasion, and this night was one of them.
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TNB TV

Edward P. Jones at PEN/Hemingway Awards 2007

May 31st, 2009
by TNB TV

TNB TV 
Edward P. Jones speaks at the 2007 PEN/Hemingway Awards at the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.


TNB Photo of the Day

Edward P. Jones

May 31st, 2009
by TNB Photo of the Day


Edward P. Jones 
The author of The Known World stares into the lens.


TNB TV

Jim Carroll “People Who Died”

May 30th, 2009
by TNB TV

TNB TV 
Jim Carroll performs his punk classic “People Who Died.” Song begins at the 21-second mark.


TNB Photo of the Day

Jim Carroll

May 30th, 2009
by TNB Photo of the Day


Jim Carroll 
Author. Poet. Punk musician. Born August 1, 1950.


Kip Tobin

Reflections on the Land of Sunshine and Joy

May 29th, 2009
by Kip Tobin

MADRID, SPAIN

Dear I-

In the several week run up to my exit here from your beautiful country, many people, including yourself, have asked me what I will miss about Spain. The main reaction of those who find out I’m leaving resembles this: “You been here how long - six years? Shit man. That’s a long time. Damn.” Most follow with “Why are you leaving?”.

These reactions naturally force you to consider the reality of your exit. These final days have been flashing before me like a movie reel, unable to to see one frame and appreciate it. As I type these words, I can already feel the credits starting to roll.

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Savannah Schroll Guz

In Praise of the Radish Burp

May 29th, 2009
by Savannah Schroll Guz
WEIRTON, WV -

I have a tendency to become….mmmm, how shall I say this?….a little paranoid. It’s not anything out of the ordinary. I think, under the circumstances, many people probably feel inherently uneasy right now (and maybe always have). There’s, you know, that nuclear threat posed by North Korea, the recent swine flu outbreak, the continued recession, local political battles, larger social dynamics over which I have absolutely no control. I could list a thousand things that push my personal panic button.

However, what happily tows me back to earth (besides my comforting and levelheaded husband) when I jet into one of my overly-reflective or speculative orbits, is a walk to our garden. We have gradually increased its size over the three or four years since we started growing our own food. We have beets, eggplants, carrots, peppers of all sorts, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, potatoes, sunflowers (for seeds), squash, pumpkins, even cantaloupe. Soon, we’ll plant black beans.

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Smibst

What Scares You?

May 29th, 2009
by Smibst

PHILADELPHIA, PA-

What is scary? Fear interests me because it’s probably the emotion I experience the least. I laugh a lot, sure. Get bummed out. Nervous. Anxious. Giddy. Bored. But rarely scared. I rarely get truly, deeply scared.

A couple of movies freaked me out. But only a couple. Five, to be exact.

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Meghan Elizabeth Hunt

A Chance Encounter with My Brother (A.K.A. I Was Lazy This May)

May 29th, 2009
by Meghan Elizabeth Hunt

COLUMBIA, MD -

What’s written below did not come from me, but instead from my little brother. I’ve had a busy May and haven’t really had the inspiration to write, not because I’m feeling particularly lazy, which I am, but because there just hasn’t been much happening. So I’m letting my brother take over for me this month. It will give me a chance to think of something spectacular for June and as a bonus, you guys will get a chance to meet my absolutely wonderful, poignant, and hilarious brother, Andrew.

Just don’t give him too much credit - his head will get too big to fit through his front door.

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David S. Wills

Roe Moo-hyun and Korea’s Suicidal Tendency

May 29th, 2009
by David S. Wills

DAEGU, KOREA -

In collectivist societies, suicide is often a common and honourable thing. Well, perhaps it’s not honourable exactly, but rather it is connected to honour and the prevention of increasing dishonour.

The recent suicide of Roe Moo-hyun brought this problem to light. Of course, in a country that pretends fan death is real as a way of hiding the number of deaths brought on by alcohol and suicide, one must expect a certain amount of farce to ensue. Here, people say that Roe ‘died’ and that he fell in an accident. Nobody mentions his suicide note.

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TNB Photo of the Day

N.L. Belardes

May 29th, 2009
by TNB Photo of the Day


N.L. Belardes 
This longtime TNB contributor is in the middle of writing a really arresting Twitter novel called Small Places.


TNB TV

N.L. Belardes on Small Places

May 29th, 2009
by TNB TV

TNB TV 
N.L. Belardes talks about the meaning of his Twitter novel Small Places.


Brin Friesen

Popped Tires Down Memory Lane

May 28th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

VANCOUVER-

High school is attractive to me, not because you necessarily have a good time, but because you have a clear idea WHY you’re miserable. ‘This’, ‘this’, and ‘this.’ As opposed to real life, post-high school life, you can be miserable and not have a clear idea what makes you miserable. Dis-satisfactions are more vague, more amorphous. High school is an abridged version of real life and its abridgment adds clarity. That clarity is comforting.

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David Breithaupt

Making Time with Thurber

May 28th, 2009
by David Breithaupt

COLUMBUS, OH-

I mentioned to my girlfriend last week that we should make love on James Thurber’s grave when the weather becomes warmer. It was an idle suggestion, a sort of thinking out loud comment that I should have put more thought into before I spoke it. (more…)


John McNulty

Of Parisian Cafes and Their Toilets - A Manifesto

May 28th, 2009
by John McNulty

PARIS-

Question: Why do tiny toilets in Parisian Cafes have doors that open inwards? Why must so many users remain crushed and contorted as they try and use the facilities? Rise up. Rise up. Youth and cafe culture and claim what is rightfully yours. Toilets with more surface area! 

Point of fact (in favor of Parisian Cafes): We the people have progressed to the point where there is no longer a single solitary hole in the ground.  (As a witness, I can attest that this was a norm in Paris up until the late nineties). Surely now we can take the next bold step and extend our toilets to acommodate full sized human beings? “Allez”. That means “Come On”.

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TNB TV

Eudora Welty Discusses Her Work

May 28th, 2009
by TNB TV

TNB TV 
Eudora Welty discusses her work.


TNB Photo of the Day

Eudora Welty

May 28th, 2009
by TNB Photo of the Day


Eudora Welty 
Her novel The Optimist’s Daughter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972.


Sung J. Woo

Star Trek Through the Years

May 27th, 2009
by Sung J. Woo

WASHINGTON, NJ -

For the last two weeks, I had intended to write up a little review of the new Star Trek film, but then I got thinking about what this franchise has meant to me. Don’t worry — I’m not some loon who knows the stardate of when Kirk took his first swig of Romulan Ale, and I certainly can’t translate Shakespeare into Klingon. However, I’m not a casual fan, either. I’ve seen enough Star Trek to know what the prime directive means or that Uhura’s name comes from the Swahili word for freedom.

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Zsofia McMullin

A Roll of Cottage Cheese, Covered in Chocolate

May 27th, 2009
by Zsofia McMullin

PORTLAND, ME –

It is the most unique candy bar imaginable. I am not even sure I can call it a candy bar. It is a roll of sweet, lemony cottage cheese – smooth and fluffy, none of that weird, gritty, rubbery stuff – covered in a layer of crunchy milk chocolate. It’s about the size of my middle finger and it’s wrapped in a red polka-dot foil. It’s “Turo Rudi.” Literally translated: Cottage Cheese Roll. Or “rollie,” if we want to be accurate.

It is only for the Hungarian palate. I have never met an American who enjoyed it. I think you have to grow up with it to appreciate its weirdness. You have to have eaten enough to know how to open the package so that the chocolate doesn’t brake off and how to fish the last bits of chocolate crumbs out of the foil.  You have to have crushed enough rollies in your backpack on hot school days to appreciate the way it tastes when it’s melted and to not be too surprised when it comes to represent your entire personal history and identity.

Because of course, it is more than just a roll of cottage cheese, covered in chocolate.

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