When I was a kid, they were called Samoas for the FIRST time

You know you’ve crossed over some invisible border between youth and something else when your whole weekend is fucking MADE by the delivery of a set of recliners. Aaron and I started having recliner lust about two years ago, and finally broke down and put them on the Christmas list as the things we wanted more than anything on Earth. They weren’t in stock when we ordered them three weeks ago, but they finally arrived yesterday morning, and we have spent all weekend either reclining or saying things like “hey, you wanna go recline?” Anyway, as a result we had to move some stuff around and will be donating a loveseat to the Salvation Army (the only org that will come pick stuff up) on Tuesday–if you or someone you know would like a very nice comfortable blue loveseat, let us know before Tuesday and we’ll give it to you instead.

At the request of no one but my mother (click to enlarge):
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I’m your little glowing friend

I’m pretty pleased to report that the “short” list of 33 1/3 proposals that are still in the running was posted last night, and my “Flood” proposal is still kicking. There were two other proposals for “Flood” in the original list, and I only know that’s mine because I got a thumbs-up email, but whoever proposed “Lincoln” also survived so TMBG has two chances to represent (although I’m sure there is essentially no chance they will both get published, for diversity’s sake). Series editor David Barker managed to read 597 proposals in six weeks and cull them to 170, and I don’t envy him and his colleagues the task of now getting that down to 20-something for contract. Anyway, the list is still as varied as the original (like, Britney is still there, twice), confirming that people must have turned in some phenomenal proposals that recommended themselves far beyond the canon status of the proposed album. Really looking forward to seeing what comes out of it.

Some reading material

Even though I personally started reading comic books at the impressionable young age of 28, there is actually quite a substantial market of teenage girls for American (read: non-manga) comics and graphic novels, although it’s a little hard to figure out. Anyway, I wrote about it this week in Publishers Weekly, with the hook of an exclusive announcement about a forthcoming OGN from prolific children’s/YA author Jane Yolen. Give it a look-see if you are so inclined!

It all goes downhill from here!

I’m on deadline right now, but I just wanted to wish you and yours a very happy New President Day. I’m not sure if it’s hit you yet, but go to Whitehouse.gov and maybe it will. And make sure to check out the speech on line if you didn’t get a chance to watch it live–despite being on deadline, I did slip out to a bar with some coworkers, and was duly impressed by how balls out Obama’s first speech as CiC was. And when I say “balls out,” I mean it can be summarized as so: “Hey, let’s all thank President Bush for his service. Now, we are all here today because we as Americans collectively decided that we were finished with this evil childish bullshit.” He did in fact use the word “childish” at one point, not-so-subtly referring to the previous administration. That Jon Favreau guy is pretty fierce.

A rock to wind a piece of string around

Note: This post is an example of the world’s most egregious case of burying the lead, but it couldn’t be helped. Skip to the third and fourth paragraphs to bypass the wanking for some actual pertinent information.

When I was a sophomore in college, I applied for my school’s only selective major, public policy, and didn’t get in. The reasons were fairly straightforward—I was a B+-ish student in a school full of wiz-kids, and I hadn’t put in the effort to get to know any professors well enough to get a standout recommendation letter. I believe I asked my Spanish teacher, and she only drew the short straw because it was one of my better subjects and I’d had her for two semesters, which meant I was reasonably certain she knew my name. There was absolutely nothing about my application worthy of rising above the mid-point in the stack of hundreds. I knew the rejection was completely just, even if my disappointment was fierce (and even that wouldn’t have been as bad if, on the same day, I hadn’t also lost out on the solo to Depeche Mode’s “Somebody” in my a cappella group–just call me endlessly ambitious). Anyway, between the audition and the arrival of the decision letters, I went around yapping to anyone who would listen that that day would be either the best day of my year, the worst day, or somewhere in between. I had a real flair for nuance. And priorities.

At the same time, I had a friend who also applied to the public policy major, only I didn’t know this. He told everyone he was majoring in religion or economics or something, and only after he was accepted did he admit that he’d applied. This was mystifying to me. It never would have occurred to me to hide my hopes and dreams in order to protect myself from the potential of public failure. I needed moral support during the wait, and I sure as hell would need it if I failed, and if people were going to point and laugh and think less of me then what the hell was that about. Or maybe (probably), in addition to genuinely wanting the prize, I also wanted the attention of being in a contest, even if it meant losing.

The point is, I’ve always been a gambler with my pride, for reasons that are a mixture of ego, insecurity, and flat-out life’s-too-short-ness. So with that in mind, I figure there’s no reason not to tell you that on New Years Eve I submitted a proposal to Continuum’s 33 1/3 series on seminal albums to write a book about They Might Be Giants’ 1990 major label debut, “Flood”. If you know me at all, you probably know that I’ve written about the band multiple times, interviewed both Johns, quote them regularly, blah blah blah. While the band isn’t for everyone, I’m one of the millions of nerdy kids who found something special in their free-association brand of rock, and now they’ve expanded to yet another generation with their children’s music empire. I have some fun ideas to tell the story of the album in both words and pictures, and while the odds are way long (there are 597 proposals this time around for maybe 20 books—that’s about a 3% chance), I’m not too proud to fantasize about getting the opportunity.

Another reason I’m sharing this is that the series editors are very open about the process, and have a blog where they provide regular updates about proposals and titles. Yesterday editor David Barker published a list of all 597 proposals, and invites comments. I’m not campaigning—no amount of “We want Flood!!” is going to make my proposal any better. But I do encourage you to head over there and take a look at the list, which I think you will find intriguing, amazing and appalling at turns (but even the appalling bits could make flat-out amazing books). Put in your two cents about which books you’d like to read (and order a couple of the already published titles, some written by or pending from some incredibly talented friends), and if one of them genuinely happens to be “Flood,” then wonderful. You’ll notice there are three (possibly only two, confirmation pending) proposals for the album, so whether mine is the best, middling or dead worst I have no way of knowing. But it’s a wonderful series, and at the very least I hope I’ve introduced you to a new source of birthday presents for music-loving loved ones.

WTF?!?11? OTW

From a Shop Rite outlet on the Jersey shore:

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Amber waves of grain

There is nothing that makes me prouder of my country than California Congresswoman Linda Sanchez’s Christmas cards. Seriously.

2008:
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2006:
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(HT Wonkette)

An amazingly original observation 2.0

Hey, did you know that micro-blogging is killing blogging? It’s totally true! Like, every time I come across something interesting or think of something that I might discuss or elaborate on here (that I can’t tie into comic books here), I just sum it up in fewer than 140 characters on Twitter or my Facebook status, where several hundred more people will probably see it by default! I blame the mortgage crisis.

Anyhoo, here are a couple of recent album reviews for your holiday shopping pleasure (lately I seem only to review albums for a more “mature” listenership, so you’ll have to get your Kanye opinions elsewhere).

Also, in case you missed any of the aforementioned micro-blogging, wow that Illinois governor is awesome! And I blew up my hair dryer! And gosh I wish I didn’t love cheese so much! And hey didn’t it get cold fast? And oh boy those dumplings made me sick! Etc.

Say a little prayer for yoooouu…

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 202 employees of Focus on the Family who were laid off this week after the organization spent truckloads of cash on the campaign to pass Proposition 8 in California. The one consolation as they wonder from whence their next mortgage payment will come is that at least they can feel assured that, finally, their once-precarious marriages and family lives will at last be solid as rocks, now that they have crushed the home-wrecking menace in the form of other happy and loving strangers three states away.

Hope-a-dope stylist

On Monday, November 1, 2004, I lived in Cambridge, Mass. and wrote this stirring pep talk and loving ode to my adopted home state about how it was places like Massachusetts that made the world okay, and we were going to get out there and send our senator to the White House gosh darnit, and oh the gay marriage thing made me so happy, and yay America. Well, we all know what happened the next day, and all I could bring myself to do at that point was post photos of Courtney and myself as Jem and Jerrica because what the fuck was the point of anything anymore, it was all so truly outrageous.

Of course, less than a month earlier, I had also written this open letter to the Boston Red Sox, saying that I loved them and everything but please don’t break the curse and win the World Series because after the Super Bowl and everything there’s just no way Massachusetts was going to sweep all important 2004 contests, so basically they would be dooming John Kerry to defeat.

So, in 2008: a) The Red Sox did not win the World Series; b) much more importantly, the Cubs did not break their endless curse and win the World Series, thereby dooming their Senator’s White House chances; c) I did not write a warm, fuzzy hope-filled screed about how genuinely patriotic and optimistic and misty-eyed I’m feeling, even though I totally am. Come to your own conclusions, see you on the other side.