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Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Ryan Day

Marketocracy

November 6th, 2009
by Ryan Day

PHOENIX, AZ-

I am, unfortunately, in no position to refuse $75 for one hour of my time, pretty much no matter what the the contents of that hour. They could have asked me to drink six bottles of catsup (ketchup?). They could have asked me to have tea with Glen Beck and soothe his uniquely bruised ego with prefabricated whispers about the peaceful forces at the center of the conservative universe (you are a child of the marketplace… the invisible hand will always lead you towards the light of the DOW…). I would have mowed lawns, bagged leaves (though I imagine the going rate of yard maintenance is somewhat lower), run backwards into the weird smelling basin at the end of the Salt River. But, alas, all they wanted was that I watch some movie trailers and tell them, no matter what I really thought, that the Rock was just the actor to breath renewed life into that excalibur of cinematic roles, the Tooth Fairy. (more…)


Brandon Gorrell

The Gimmicks of American Apparel vs. the Gimmicks of Urban Outfitters

October 21st, 2009
by Brandon Gorrell

SEATTLE, WA-

I have listed comparisons of what I feel are significant gimmicks of American Apparel and Urban Outfitters.

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Reno J. Romero

What’s Wrong with California?

October 18th, 2009
by Reno J. Romero

WOODLAND, NORTHERN CA -

I moved back to California around two months ago. What brought me back home after fifteen years? Well, a few things. Personal things. Some things not so personal. In the end, I was feeling a bit tapped out in Vegas. The bones weren’t tumbling like they used to and I was almost at the point where I didn’t give a shit either way.

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John L. Singleton

At a Waffle House on the Edge of Florida

September 23rd, 2009
by John L. Singleton

LOS ANGELES, CA—

After we passed through the hinterlands of Florida, we stopped at a Waffle House, maybe ten miles before the border. As a kid, my mom had worked at the Waffle House, and sometimes I’d come to work with her and sit at the counter all day, eating hash browns and talking to the customers.

It was a skeezy joint but I loved it there. There was something about the endless parade of anonymous faces that floated in and out of there that made me feel at home. Every day there were different people, a few regulars, but mostly truckers and other travelers that stopped in off the highway on their way to somewhere that wasn’t here.

Celeste ordered the steak and eggs and I had a Coke and a double order of hash browns. While we waited for our food we sat in silence, listening to other people’s conversations. We were too tired to make conversation for ourselves and we’d already been talking for too long. Talking about god knows what. Mostly how we hated Florida and wanted to leave.

“I don’t know why the hell people wanna come retire here. It’s worse than already being dead,” she said.
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Paul Clayton

Smiley Face Fiction

September 13th, 2009
by Paul Clayton

SAN FRANCISCO-

I sent one of my stories to a so-called literary magazine and got back the strangest rejection letter I’ve ever received — and I’ve been doing this for over thirty years. I’d never heard of The @$$!@# Reader until the night I picked up (but didn’t buy) a copy at my local Borders where I go with my daughter, D, every Wednesday afternoon. (more…)


Dawn Corrigan

George Clooney and I Have a Fight

September 8th, 2009
by Dawn Corrigan

GULF BREEZE, FL -

A little homage to Paul Toth’s hilarious “Interview” series, which you can read here. (See 8 of the last 9 posts.)

George Clooney was at the coffee shop where I hang out. He stopped by my table after he got his latte.

“You and I are pretty much on the same team, you know,” he said.

“I beg your pardon?”

(more…)


Paul Clayton

Le Voisinage de Monsieur Roger, First Blood, Part I, Chapter 7, addendum 1.2, or Wally Gator gets down with the crew at the sauna…

August 17th, 2009
by Paul Clayton

SAN FRANCISCO-

As usual, I drove to the municipal pool last Sunday.  My route takes me past the soccer field.  A game was in progress, one team wearing green shorts and jerseys, the other blue.  Soccer is really big here in South City with the Mexicans and Central Americans.  They’re out there most Sundays, their families picnicking on the grounds, watching.  There’s always a truck parked alongside the field selling burritos and tacos.  We also have a baseball field adjoining that.  They usually play Saturday and some evenings under the lights. (more…)


Todd Zuniga

Tokyo, 2006

August 10th, 2009
by Todd Zuniga

LOS ANGELES, CA-

The hotel we booked online is communist concrete chic, a six-story bunker renting rooms.  Inside’s a mess, shoved luggage carts piled into one another, floor littered with fliers, confused commotion at check-in.  Olivia pulls the plug, says no way we’re staying.

Outside in light rain, a cab’s door automatically opens, we shimmy inside, name the only hotel we know: the Park Hyatt.  The lone lodging Olivia wanted to avoid because she found it pretentious, we arrive at Lost in Translation’s three-towered megahotel, are told at the entrance that every room is booked, only suites remain.

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Reno J. Romero

I Speed at Night

August 5th, 2009
by Reno J. Romero

LAS VEGAS, NV -

I’m a night person. I pull all-nighters. No, I don’t do speed (although I might as well). I simply hit an hour of no return and there I am watching the clock roll into the future. Bringing in the next day. Telling me I made one more.

2am.

4:30am.

Usually, if I get to bed before 10:30 then I’m good. But if I pass that time then who knows what’s going to happen.

1:30am.

3:20am.

(more…)


Don Mitchell

My Rolex

August 1st, 2009
by Don Mitchell

COLDEN, NY-

I put on my forty-year old stainless steel Rolex Oyster Perpetual when I need to impress someone. I take it out of the drawer and shake it a few times to get it running, snap the metal clasp in place, trying not to catch any arm hairs in it, and I’m cool. Guys nudge each other – check out the old dude with the Rolex. Wonder what he deals.
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Shya Scanlon

Five Thoughts Upon the Eve of my 34th Birthday

July 27th, 2009
by Shya Scanlon

LOWER EAST SIDE, MANHATTAN-

On Water

I’ve become pretty water-savvy over the past few years. Who hasn’t? Spring water, sparkling water, water from the quickly disappearing glaciers of Alaska – we’ve all been drinking more bottled water. I know some people who have stopped drinking tap water altogether. They say they don’t like the taste, but I think it’s actually a matter of trust. I drink it, but I probably shouldn’t. When I order tap water in restaurants, it’s slightly embarrassing. Can’t I afford the bottled water? Am I making some kind of statement? (Sometimes when the refrigerator in my kitchen kicks in, the lights in my apartment dim a little, and I feel my eyelids dip to match the encroaching darkness as though they’re struggling to blur the line between what they guard and what they guard against.)

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Paul Clayton

Le Voisinage de Monsieur Roger, First Blood, Part I, Chapter 7, Addendum 1.1, or My Life So Far…

July 26th, 2009
by Paul Clayton

SAN FRANCISCO, CA-

One of the neighbors in the ‘nage’ flips cars—that is, he buys them, spruces them up, then sells them.  There are always at least six of them parked on our little street, so sometimes it gets a little crowded.  He “ain’t from here,” as country people would say.  He hails from somewhere down south–El Salvador or Guatemala, I think.  He is well dressed, respectful, and attentive.  He can usually be found outside, cell phone in hand.  If I or one of the other neighbors seem to be having difficulty negotiating a turn into our driveways, he will hustle over and move one of the cars like an uptown parking lot Johnny.

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Stefan Kiesbye

Interview — And Please Wear Professional Attire

July 15th, 2009
by Stefan Kiesbye

LOS ANGELES-

Really? I mean, do you need to have a TV and a radio blaring at the same time, in the same small office? A marketing firm, valuing face-to-face contact with clients. The face-to-face not working so well in that dingy suite of a nondescript office complex on Ventura Boulevard. Two blocks over, the L.A. River in its cemented bed exudes more charm. A central room with the young-yet-worn secretary, four offices beyond, short-and-slick-haired, in-their-early-to-mid-to-late-twenties male suits in those offices. With bad shoes. Run-down heels, worn out leather, cheap in the first place. (more…)


Slade Ham

If I Had a Million Dollars

July 13th, 2009
by Slade Ham

HOUSTON, TX -

I mentioned on some website recently that I had a little less than two years to make a million dollars… or at least the first million anyway. It’s a deadline I imposed on myself back in high school: a million bucks by thirty-five. In theory it shouldn’t be that hard. The reality is that there are a lot of ways to get there, some much easier than others. I’m sure that I am creative enough to pull it off, considering ideas occur to me faster than I can write them down sometimes.

I often turn to artists of different mediums for inspiration when I feel a lack of creativity. Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor. Prince’s Purple Rain. Banksy’s graffiti. Cirque du Soleil. Of course, those things used to inspire me, but not anymore. I don’t need neurotransmitters to fire through my frontal and temporal lobes to spark creative concepts. I no longer wish for a muse. I need nothing of the sort.

I just have to get hurt. (more…)


Don Mitchell

I Don’t Brake for Mongoose

July 7th, 2009
by Don Mitchell

COLDEN, NY -

I’m writing this in rural western New York, where out my workroom window I’ve seen deer, woodchucks, hawks and, once, a weasel. Last week a fox I hadn’t seen before came to check things out. I let these animals alone though I admit to throwing sticks at the woodchucks, who eat my phlox, and I warned my chicken-raising neighbor about the weasel. The plants and animals I look at seem to belong here, but most of them, even the birds at my feeder, have their origins somewhere else. I don’t think of them as invasive, but they are.

I grew up in Hilo, a town on the Big Island of Hawai’i, and I go back there every year, to live for a while in the house I grew up in. In Hilo you can’t help being aware of the tension between invasive and endemic species, and I don’t mean as metaphor for tourists and locals. Ordinary folk talk about it and (more…)


Elizabeth Collins

Why I’m Not Allowed in Atlantic City, NJ

June 24th, 2009
by Elizabeth Collins

PHILADELPHIA, PA-

“My wife is not allowed in Atlantic City,” I hear my husband tell his friend over the phone.  D. has been working near AC, building a house. Now that it’s done, he’s frequently encouraged to visit. We always say no thanks, but not because AC is a dump (which some might agree with). There are other reasons.

“It’s not like I forbid her to go. She’s on the casinos’ Banned list. They know who she is, they look out for her.”  Big pause, while I assume his friend wants to know why.  None of the likeliest reasons are particularly classy, now are they? I cringe, but D. loves to tell this story.

“I mean, she’s not allowed in the city. It’s crazy, man.  My wife is a card counter. Brain like a computer…”

“They shook her down, raided her hotel room, grabbed back the money, messed her up, even threatened to execute her if she ever came back.”

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Laura Waldon

Praying, Witchcraft, and Bathtub Fiction; Or, My Seemingly Endless Job Search

June 4th, 2009
by Laura Waldon

SALEM, MA-

You always hear that “the Lord works in mysterious ways.” But sometimes, he’s really fucking obvious.

Two years ago, I completed graduate school and continued working on a book that I drafted during my MFA program. I worked part-time at the University of New Hampshire, where I got my degree, and took on freelance writing gigs to pay my bills.

But when my “writing life” laxed and became my “cleaning the house and hanging out with grad school friends” life, my wife gave me a not-so-subtle nudge:

Get a job.

(more…)


Andrew Johnson

The Case for Disbelief

June 3rd, 2009
by Andrew Johnson

HONG KONG, CHINA-

“It’s easy to be cynical,” people say. Does it follow then that being a nihilist is like falling off a log?

Rejecting all systems of belief or belonging on the basis of their existence, no matter how attractive or unattractive they might be?… I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty difficult to me.

(more…)


Suzanne Burns

Stop the Presses: I Am a Poet!

May 25th, 2009
by Suzanne Burns

BEND, OR-

I just licked that big, all-consuming yellow envelope that holds, in its hopefully safe confines, my newest poetry manuscript. To be sent to an interested publisher in New York, a land almost as far, far away as Paris.

These are the first poems I’ve written in seven years. The first poems I’ve written that seem like grown-up, adult poems. (No, not adult in that way.)

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Bryan Richards

Socialism is So Cool

May 19th, 2009
by Bryan Richards

SEATTLE, WA -

In Barcelona there are only a few things that really concern the local citizen. The first and probably most important concern is whether or not their beloved “Barça”, or FC Barcelona, will prevail in the next match. In Barcelona, fútbol (football/soccer) is king. The entire city, minus the tourist trap centers, shut down so that loyal Catalans can gather together to enjoy the beautiful game. It’s a weekly event in Barcelona and a wonderful tradition for an outsider to witness.

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