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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I Bet You Can't Repeat The Title Of This Blog!

Hofstadter talks about viral sentences: self-replicating sentences, sentences which reproduce through an appropriate host. A very simple example would be, "Say me!" The sentence is asking to be said. If we oblige, it replicates and can clearly spread.

Sometimes they come with bribes or threats. "If you copy me, I'll grant you three wishes." "Say me or I'll put a curse on you."

Chain letters operate on the same premise.

More concerning perhaps are self-replicating sentences that are in fact self-replicating ideas: "The bourgeoise is oppressing the proletariat." The repetition of the statement is "driven by a desire to protect a victim figure from a villian figure".

As writers, we ignore the above at our peril.

Step aside for one moment: Hofstadter quotes from a letter he received from Stephen Walton: A manuscript sent to an editor may be considered viral, even though it contains no explicit self-reference, because it is attempting to secure its own reproduction through an appropriate host; the same manuscript sent to someone who has nothing to do with publishing may have no viral quality at all.

What are reject letters then but anti-virals?

As writers we seek to reproduce ideas and other abstractions. We do this through the basic unit of the word and through the sentence. In fact words are by the very nature of language, by the very nature of their existence in the language we use, self-replicating. The structure of a sentence is self-replicating by its very definition. And what of the structure of poems and stories? Oh yes we are an infectious bunch indeed.

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, please send it to a friend. If you did not enjoy it, please show it to someone you know as an example of a post you did not enjoy.

Self-Referential Sentences

Hofs on the blower from Indiana University.

"I hate people who talk about themselves."

"Ha, ha, Hofs, good one."

The Reader of this Blog Exists Only While Reading It

So Hofstadter's been rapping on to Dead Beat about self-referential sentences (sentences that reference themselves e.g. This is a sentence with"onions", "tomato", and "a side of fries to go".), viral sentences and self-replicating structures. And Dead Beat has been taking note.

He has only one "thing" to say to you.

This blog is best read.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Dead Beat's Intellectual Home Territory

Dead Beat has a new best friend. Douglas R. Hofstadter (Didn't Groucho play him in a movie? - Hudson)

Hofstadter is the son of Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Robert Hofstadter. He was instrumental in paving the way for our understanding of Artificial Intelligence and works extensively developing cognitive models of "high level perception". He wrote a series of influential columns for Scientific American in the 80s and out of that grew his book Metamagical Themas which Dead Beat is now reading.

Have a peep over my shoulder: "The diversity of my columns is worth discussing for a moment. On the surface they seem to wander all over the intellectual map - from sexism to music to art to nonsense, from game theory to artificial intelligence to molecular biology to the Cube and more. But there is, I believe, a deep underlying unity to my columns. I felt that gradually as I wrote more and more of them, regular readers would start to see the links between disparate ones, so that after a while the coherence of the web would be quite clear. My image of this was always geometric. I envisioned my intellectual home territory as a rather large region in some conceptual space, a region that most people do not see as a connected unit. Each new column was in a way a new 'random dot' in that conceptual space, and as dots began peppering the space more fully over the months, the shape of my territory would begin to emerge more clearly."

Doug you took the words right out of my mouth. And you all thought Dead Beat was stark raving mad. Instead he turns out to be an intellectual of the highest order. Take that!

Horace's Od(e)ious Gossip Column

Horace once again rushes out from the tool shed: “Neither your wife, nor your son, desires your recovery; all your neighbors, acquaintances, nay the very boys and girls hate you. Do you wonder that no one tenders you the affection which you do not merit, since you prefer your money to everything else? If you think to retain, and preserve as friends, the relations which nature gives you, without taking any pains; wretch that you are, you lose your labor equally, as if any one should train an ass…”

“What do you say, Horace?”

“I verily say, that Hudson is the father of Anna Nicole Smiths’s infant daughter. So be obedient to the rein, and run in the Campus. Finally, let there be some end to your search; and, as your riches increase, be in less dread of poverty; and begin to cease from your toil, that being acquired which you coveted: nor do as did one Umidius (it is no tedious story), who was so rich that he measured his money, so sordid that he never clothed him self any better than a slave; and, even to his last moments, was in dread lest want of bread should oppress him: but his freed-woman, the bravest of all the daughters of Tyndarus, cut him in two with a hatchet.”


“”It’s looking that way.”

Hudson's Oscar Acceptance Speech

Oh, my God. Oh, my God. I'm sorry. This moment is so much bigger than me.
This moment is for Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Old Shep. It's for the dogs that stand beside me, Air Bud, Balto, Beethoven. And it's for every nameless, faceless dog of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened. Thank you. I'm so honored. I'm so honored. And I thank the Academy for choosing me to be the vessel for which His blessing might flow. Thank you.
I want to thank my manager, Dead Beat. He's been with me for eight long months and you fought every fight and you've loved me when I've been up, but more importantly you've loved me when I've been down. You have been a manager, a friend, and the only father I've ever known. Really. And I love you very much.
I want to thank my mom who's given me the strength to fight every single day, to be who I want to be and given me the courage to dream, that this dream might be happening and possible for me. I love you, Mom, so much, even though you gave up on me. Thank you. My wife, the bitch next door, who is just a joy of my life, and India, my unknown daugther, thank you for giving me peace because only with the peace that you've brought me have I been allowed to go to places that I never even knew I could go. Thank you. I love you and India with all my heart.
I want to thank everybody for believing in me. Our director is a genius. You're a genius. This moviemaking experience was magical for me because of you. You believed in me; you trusted me and you gently guided me to very scary places. I thank you. I want to thank Benjii. I could have never figured out who the heck this lady was without you. I love you. Thank you. I want to thank our producer. Thank you for giving me this chance, for believing that I could do it. And now tonight I have this. Thank you.I want to thank my agents. Thank you for never kicking me out and sending me somewhere else. Thank you. I, I, I, who else? I have so many people that I know I need to thank. My lawyers -- Okay, wait a minute. I got to take...seventy-four years here!! Ok. I got to take this time! I got to thank my lawyer, for making this deal. I need to thank lastly and not leastly, I have to thank Spike Lee because you must thank Spike Lee. Oprah Winfrey for being the best role model any dog can have. And thank you to Warren Beatty - you would seduce any dog they say. Thank you so much for being my mentors and believing in me.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Hudson Wins Oscar

Hudson comes screaming into the room. “I won, I won!”

“What Hudson?”

“I won an Oscar.”


“Best supporting role. I won. I won. Eat humble pie, Dad.”

“Jennifer Hudson. Best Supporting Actress.”

“Same thing.”

“Down boy, down.”

Tasting the Sweet Smell of Success - Hudson and Homer Hit the Oscars

So Hudson comes in with this Hangdog expression.

“Where’ve you been?” I ask. He didn’t come in when called last night.

“On the town with Horace.”

“Hudson and Horace!” Dead Beat cannot think of a worse combination.


“Oscar parties. Marty Scorsese, Vanity Fair, you know.”

“No, I don’t know Hudson. Dead Beat has never been to the Oscars, Dead Beat has never even been to an Oscar party, Dead Beat has never really been to a party in fact, Dead Beat….”

“Leave it out Dad! You got nominated for an Irish Blog Award, didn’t you?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“It’s like I was saying to Marty at the party….”

“Marty at the party, Hudson?”

“Yeah, Scorsie. I was telling Scorsie….”

“Martin Scorsese?”

“To you, Dead Beat, to you…. Anyway there Horace and I are, gridlocked, Gwyneth, Tom, Nicole, Leonardo, Cate, Kate, you know how it is?”

“No, I don’t.”

“So streets in a two-block circumference of Morton's were closed off by police, there are three fire engines in attendance since stars tend to flout the no-smoking laws….”

“You didn’t Hudson?”

“One cigar, Dad, maybe two, three at the most. Anyway Madonna is hitching up her skirt and placing a wine glass between her thighs, Dame Helen Mirren is missing, probably sitting in the toilet, staring at her Oscar and talking to it….”
“Get to the point, Hudson.”

“There is no point, Dad. These are the Oscars we are talking about. I was down at the grand Beverly Hills Hotel when a stream of expensively-wrapped packages arrived culminating in a planet-sized floral bouquet, vast enough for its aroma to linger after it had been dispatched upstairs. "What is that amazing smell?," Horace asked the receptionist. "It's the smell of success, the sweet smell of success." I have made it, Dad, Hudson has tasted the sweet smell of success.”

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Horace's Gossip Column: Maud Gonne Checks Out of Rehab

Horace again, Dead Beat's Gossip Columnist, storming out of the tool shed, paper in hand.

"I offer this. Be careful what you say and to whom, about whom. Run from a curious man he'll love telling others. Secrets that you trust to open ears won't be well kept. And once a word escpaes, it flies. You can't recall it..."

"What you got this time, Horace?"

"More to tell on Maud Gonne."

"Horace, Horace, Horace, I told you already it better be juicy. None of this ancient folklore. W. B. Yeats pining for her and all that."

"She shaved her head. She just checked out of rehab."

Dead Beat rushes over, throws his arms around him in delight. "You might just keep the job, Horace. You might just." Dead Beat steps back swiftly, holds his nose. " One thing though: You got to take a bath."

Christopher Ricks Finds and Reminds Dead Beat

So Ricks gets back to me.

"You're not telling it all, Dead Beat."

"What is it Chris?"

"You didn't tell them about the 'finding' and 'reminding'."

"Remind me."

"The first rhyme in Dylan's Emotionally Yours is find me/remind me."

"Oh, okay, Ricks. Golly gee, I did forget that one. Thanks again. See you next time, gotta rush, milk and cereal to buy..."

"No, no, Dead Beat, listen up. What is a rhyme after all but an act of finding and reminding?"

"Darn it, Ricks, you're on to something there."

"Course I am. I'm Christopher Ricks after all. Now go get your milk and cereal. Fruit Loops for me."

Dead Beat while munching on his Raisin Bran mulls this over - what is a rhyme after all but an act of finding and reminding.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Maud Gonne Loses Her Underwear - Horace's First Gossip Column

So Horace comes bounding out of Dead Beat's tool shed.

"I have it. I have it," he screams waving a sheet of paper above his head.

"What do you have" D.B. asks him, "apart from a major case of dementia?"

"My first literary gossip column sang of news, as will my very last. I did well and have a practice sword to prove it."

"Let's have a look," I say snatching it from his hand.

"At the start of 1898, 15yo James A Joyce (JAJ) was just coming down from a year of intense Catholic religious fervor, and turning just as passionately against the Church. He was probably working on a (lost) notebook of poems, titled Moods, and feeling very fin de siècle: "The spectacle of the world... filled him with such sudden despair as could be assuaged only by melancholy versifying":

I have consorted with vulgarity

And am indelibly marked with its fell kiss,

Meanly I lived upon casual charity

Eagerly drinking of the dregs of bliss.

Meanwhile 32 yo William Butler Yeats spent most of the winter of 1897-98 in London (where he'd taken an apartment in 1896, in order finally to lose his virginity) hosting a regular Monday night salon for his literary friends, taking hashish pills and pursuing magickal researches with the Order of the Golden Dawn.

Meanwhile Lady Agusta Gregory (who surely had secret designs on WBY though she was 13 years his senior) met with Maud Gonne who WBY was sweet on and jealously said, "instead of beauty I saw a death's head".

Off Maud goes to Paris and Yeats returned to London where he took mescaline-- supplied by Havelock Ellis-- trying to achieve astral communication with Maud in Paris.

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Yeats had made no secret that Maud was his muse-- someone described the spectacle they presented on the street: "It is Maud Gonne and the Poet. She has a radiance as of sunlight. Yeats, that leopard of the moon, holds back in a leash a huge lion-colored Great Dane-- Maud Gonne's dog, Dagda."

But on 08 Dec 1898, after acknowledging their 'spiritual marriage' (and kissing him for the first time!) Maud traumatized WBY by finally telling him about her eight-year relationship with Millevoye, and of their two children (an infant son had died in 1891). On 18 Dec WBY would nonetheless propose to her, again, but she refused again: "I have a horror and terror of physical love."

Maud then returned to Paris, and WBY slunk off to Sligo, taking the hashish pills he relied on, to finish his new book of poems, The Wind Among the Reeds."

"Thats it, Horace? Your first Literary Gossip Column?"

"To some my satire seems too cutting, so extreme it violates the law..."

"It violates something that's for sure," I tell him. "Listen Horace, this is meant to be gossip, you know up to the minute slander. Jeez, Horace, Yeats is dead!"

"What exactly do you want Dead Beat?"

"Horace, Horace, Horace, at least Maud Gonne swinging her legs out of a taxi without her underwear on."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

What Al Said

Dead Beat likes talking to Al. He gets Dead Beat thinking about the writing process, gets him to re-evaluate his thinking on it.

So what Al said when he was asking D.B. about his days in the Domestic Appliance Design business got Dead Beat to thinking about the difference in design strategies. Some products are designed to fail. They will last a few years then need replacing. They use cheaper parts (which is why they can fail) and sell for less consequently - but you sell more. Then some design companies design to last. Better parts, longer life. Costs more initially but not in the long run.

The other thing Dead Beat noticed was that those companies that designed to last were usually the more innovative, the more creative. The design to fail companies seemed to think that research and development facilities were places for taking apart competitors products with a screwdriver and copying them - faults and all.

So what Al said got Dead Beat thinking - When you write, write to last. Put away your screwdrivers. There is already enough writing out there designed to fail, copying their competitors faults and all.

Rhyme - Memory and Hope

Don't you love this: two words meet and they die, are terminated.

Rhyme - Memory and Hope.

"Dead Beat, Dead Beat, LET ME IN!"


"You're off the mark."

"...when you have the first rhyme word you are hoping for the later one, and when you have the later one you remember the promise that was given earlier and is now fulfilled. Responsibilities on both sides, responsively granted."

"You're a chancer Ricks."

"I'm the real Mc Coy."

The Recurrence of Termination

Dead Beat loves the word 'termination'.

Well of course he does, Terminated Beat.

But what of rhyme as termination? Now we are talking the language of old D.B.

"Shove over, Dead Beat, we are now talking the language of Ricks."

"Christy, put a sock in it. We are talking Arthur Hallum. Remember Ricks, he referred to rhyme "as the recurrence of termination."

"A fine paradox, for how can termination recur? Can this really be the end when there is a rhyme to come?"

"Shut up, Chrissy Babe. Listen to the man himself, Hallum: "Rhyme has been said to contain in itself a constant appeal to Memory and Hope." - get the capitals, Ricks?"

"I am on top of it, Dead Beat."

"He's still talking...." This is true of all verse, of all harmonized sound; but it is certainly made more palpable by the recurrence of termination."

"Okay, okay, truce...? Palpability?"

"You have it, Ricks. You are on the mark."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Meloncholy Thought Had Laid Me Low - Arthur Hallam

"If you are determined to mention me without my consent, Dead Beat, the least you can do is tell them about Arthur Hallam." So Ricks bellows outside my window.
"Shoo!" I whisper loudly, "You will waken the children."
"I don't care for children, Dead Beat."
"You will waken Hudson."
"I don't care for dogs."
"You will waken Horace. I know you care for Horace."
"Damn you, Dead Beat," he whispers as he skulks off. "I'll be back."
And so Dead Beat gives you, Arthur Hallam
A Meloncholy Thought Had Laid Me Low

A melancholy thought had laid me low;

A thought of self-desertion, and the death

Of feelings wont with my heart's blood to flow,

And feed the inner soul with purest breath.

The idle busy star of daily life,

Base passions, haughty doubts, and selfish fears,

Have withered up my being in a strife

Unkind, and dried the source of human tears.

One evening I went forth, and stood alone

With Nature: moon there was not, nor the light

Of any star in heaven: yet from the sight

Of that dim nightfall better hope hath grown

Upon my spirit, and from those cedars high

Solemnly changeless, as the very sky.

Arthur Hallam

Christopher Ricks Comes Pounding On Dead Beat's Door

So Ricks comes pounding on Dead Beat's door.


"Hold your horses, Christy. I'm coming. I'm coming."

I open the door and Ricks is fuming. Smoke from every capitol orifice.

"What's your beef, C.R.?"

"What's my beef, Dead Beat? I'll tell you what's my beef. You stole my words. You printed them in your so called literary blog without any thought for copyrite."

"Whoh, Chris Ricks. Steady now boy. You the defender of Bob Dylan and all that. Well renowned horse thief of words. Check out Modern Times for heavens' sake. His appropriation of Henry Timrod."

"Dylan's a genius, Dead Beat."

"My point exactly. Besides Timrod, for instance, Modern Times taps into the Bible, Robert Johnson, Memphis Minnie, Kokomo Arnold, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, the Stanley Brothers, Merle Haggard, Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, standards popularized by Jeanette MacDonald, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra, as well as vintage folk songs such as “Wild Mountain Thyme,” “Frankie and Albert,” and “Gentle Nettie Moore. don't think I don't know it, Ricksy."

"I didn't know that Dead Beat."

"I thought you thought you knew everything."

"I'm close to perfect Dead Beat. I never claimed beyond that. You did like my words anyway."

"I loved them Ricks. Maybe you're a genius too."

"Close to Dead Beat."

"I know, you never claimed beyond that."

Rhyme As Metaphor - Holding Christopher Ricks At Bay

Dead Beat finally got around to Dylan's Vision of Sin by Christopher Ricks.

Rick's has a lot to say and is not afraid to say it, but all you poets out there listen to this:

"Rhyme like any metaphor is itself a threesome, not a crowd: tenor, vehicle and the union of the two that constitutes the third thing, metaphor."

Rhyme as metaphor?

You knew this didn't you? You just hadn't been thinking about it.

Well think about it now, or I'll set Christopher Ricks upon you. Rarr!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Make Dead Beat Eat His Words

Dead Beat notices that his blog site has been longlisted for the Irish Blog Awards in the Best Art and Culture Section.

Well as you know Dead Beat is highly cultured - just ask Hudson... on second thoughts....

Wouldn't it put Dead Beat in his place if he were to win...

Go ahead make him eat his words

you have until Friday 18th Feb.

What have I done!!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Horace Requests To Become Dead Beat's New Gossip Columnist

So Horace runs out of the tool shed screaming bloody murder:

"This is a fault common to all singers, that among their friends they never are inclined to sing when they are asked, [but] unasked, they never desist. Tigellius, that Sardinian, had this [fault]. Had Caesar, who could have forced him to compliance, besought him on account of his father’s friendship and his own, he would have had no success; if he himself was disposed, he would chant lo Bacche over and over, from the beginning of an entertainment to the very conclusion of it; one while at the deepest pitch of his voice, at another time with that which answers to the highest string of the tetrachord. There was nothing uniform in that fellow; frequently would he run along, as one flying from an enemy; more frequently [he walked] as if he bore [in procession] the sacrifice of Juno: he had often two hundred slaves, often but ten: one while talking of kings and potentates, every thing that was magnificent; at another–"Let me have a three-legged table, and a cellar of clean salt, and a gown which, though coarse, may be sufficient to keep out the cold.” Had you given ten hundred thousand sesterces to this moderate man who was content with such small matters, in five days’ time there would be nothing in his bags. He sat up at nights, [even] to day-light; he snored out all the day. Never was there anything so inconsistent with itself. Now some person may say to me, “What are you? Have you no faults?” Yes, others; but others, and perhaps of a less culpable nature...."

"What are you trying to say Horace?' I ask him.

"Dead Beat, can I be your gossip columnist?"

"Horace, old friend, old very old friend, Dead Beat does not stoop so low to gossip mongering."

Horace stomps up and down, positively fumes:

"When Maenius railed at Novius in his absence: “Hark ye,” says a certain person, “are you ignorant of yourself? or do you think to impose yourself upon us a person we do not know?” “As for me, I forgive myself,” quoth Maenius. This is a foolish and impious self-love, and worthy to be stigmatized. .."

"Okay, okay, you win, Horace. You can be Dead Beat's new official Gossip Columnist."

"Dead Beat, but that you are so good, that no man can be better; but he is your friend; but an immense genius is concealed under this unpolished person of his..."

"Shut up already!"

To Be Sure To Be Sure - Couldn't Do Any More Than That

Remember Bertie Aherne Swallows A Brick. Well here it is - the brick swallowing act.

Ireland has much to be proud for. This is probably not it.

The Emotion and Science of Writing

Listen to this: "Archaeologists have unearthed two skeletons from the Neolithic period locked in a tender embrace and buried outside Mantua. The site is just 25 miles south of Verona, the romantic city where Shakespeare set the star-crossed tale of "Romeo and Juliet." "
How loaded is that?
Wait: "The find has "more of an emotional than a scientific value." But it does highlight how the relationship people have with each other and with death has not changed much."
Romeo and Juliet? Emotion not science.
Writers, listen up: You find two bodies, they appear to be hugging, they are prehistoric, they coincidentally lie near the vicinity of the setting of a romantic tale - Your job is to be a forensic scientist.
Two skeletons. They face each other. Italy.
Go to it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Frankie Laine, NLP, and the Science of Excellence

So why is Dead Beat giving the death of Frankie Laine so much coverage?

Well folks, here's the thing, Frankie Laine was exceptionally good at what he did. And Dead Beat thinks, believes, that if we want to improve as writers we need to know what it is people do to become exceptionally good at what they do. Got that?

That by the way is what this NLP thing Dead Beat sometimes talks about is all about. Dead Beat being a Practitioner of NLP and all that.

And no, it's no airy fairy nonsense since Dead Beat is a scientist at heart. He has no time for the anecdotally based Crystals and Auras and Angels (boy there goes the heart of his readership!). How could he? Writers are nuts and bolts people when it comes right down to it.

So Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) models excellence. It sets out to understand what it is happening in our mind to result in excellence in some behaviour. The behaviour of exceptional writing for instance. We all have the same words to work with. We can all study the craft of writing and learn about form. So what exactly is happening to allow one writer to be 'better' than another?

There are clearly strategies at work within the mind of the writer. Methods. Methods for using metaphor more effectively. In poetry for instance, strategies for using rhyme more effectively or rhythm. Most of this happens unconsciously. Some writers have developed better strategies than others. Well if we are not one of the blessed few, then wouldn't it be nice to understand these strategies, to be able to outline them, model them so that they could be learned by others?

Well God bless Richard Bandler and John Grindler who developed this whole NLP thing. They modelled excellence. They set the science in motion.

Just what is going on in Heaney's mind as he creates his poetry? Just what is going on in the mind of Richard Ford?

When Frankie Laine took the stage and delivered his songs just what was going on in his mind?

Hudson Chews On Rawhide

So Hudson ambles in, cigar in mouth. "What's this obsession with Frankie Laine Dead Beat, and just who exactly is he?"

"Who is Frankie Laine, Hudson! And you tell me that you are sophisticated!"

"I don't tell you that, Dad. I show it. You of all people should know. Show don't tell."

"Well, Hudson, Frankie Laine just happens to be the person who made Rawhide famous."

"Hey isn't that the stuff in my chewing bones? You know the material that is supposed to be very bad for me, can potentially cause me to choke, and still you feed it to me. Frankie Laine invented rawhide!"

"Here Hudson, chew on a bone."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Dead Beat Bids Farewell: Frankie Laine March 30 1913-Feb 6 2007

After this Frankie rest in peace.

High Noon

If you weren't at the Latin Quarter, this is the best Dead Beat can do for you.

Take it away Frankie

If You Want to Flip, It's Alright With Me

Dead Beat remembers being in The Latin Quarter, October 14 1955.

Out comes Mr. Rhythm.

"Let's get going, then if you want to flip, it's all right with me," says Mr. Rhythm.

Dead Beat nods to himself and acknowledges that Frankie Laine has earned his sobriquet.

He leans slightly forward as he sings, as if he were about to battle a stiff wind in Kansas. His hands are always busy, often raised, with the fervor of a revivalist. D. B. will say he's. Mr. Rhythm. And a consummate showman, too, as he introduces the numbers that have meant much to his career.

Because it always was a lucky number for him since he first sang it in 1949, he does "Lucky Old Sun."Next comes "Your Cheating Heart," by the late Hank Williams, on whose life a movie will be based; then, nearest and dearest to Frankie's heart, "You're My Desire," then "Jezebel."

By now, as Frankie points out, the audience is really flying, so he introduces his accompanist, Al Lerner, the Cleveland flash, before rushing into his version of "Cry of the Wild Goose."

"Believe" and "Jealousy" wind up a program that should satisfy the singer's fans and win new ones.

Turn the house lights down.

Frankie Laine has left the building.

Obituary - Statement From The Family Of Frankie Laine

Statement from the family of Frankie Laine
February 6, 2007

We are saddened to announce the passing of Frankie Laine, musician, father, husband and friend. He died at 9:15 this morning from cardiovascular disease at age 93 in San Diego, surrounded by his loved ones.

Frankie led a long, exuberant life and contributed greatly to many causes near to his heart. He donated his time and talent to many San Diego charities and homeless shelters, as well as the Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul Village. He was also an emeritus member of the board of directors for the Mercy Hospital Foundation.

Born Francesco Paolo LoVecchio on March 30, 1913, he was one of the most successful American singers of the twentieth century. He charted more than 70 records – 21 of them gold – and achieved worldwide sales of more than 250 million discs. He will be forever remembered for the beautiful music he brought into this world, his wit and sense of humor, along with the love he shared with so many.

Frankie is survived by his wife Marcia; brother Phillip LoVecchio of Chicago, Illinois; daughter Pamela Donner and grandsons Joshua and David Donner of Sherman Oaks, California; and daughter and son-in-law Dr. and Mrs. Irwin Steiger of Couer D’Alene, Idaho.

We ask that you respect our privacy during this time. We thank you for caring about the life of Frankie Laine, a remarkable human being and musician who has left an indelible mark on the world.

There's Not Many of Them Left Anymore - Dead Beat Mourns Frankie Laine

Dead Beat's Dad has been right on more than one occasion. Well he is right once again - "there is not many of them left anymore."
Frankie Laine took that Old Mule Train to the Sky.
He died today of heart failure in Mercy Hospital, San Diego. Some of you Dead Beaters will know him for the theme to the television show Rawhide. Some will know him for the theme to Mel Brook's 1974 movie Blazing Saddles, but anyone worth their salt will know him because of That's My Desire, Mule Train, Jezebel, I Believe and That Lucky Old Sun, from the late 1940s and 1950s.
Oh you know Dead Beat's old pal, Elvis was often claimed to be the first white guy to sound black, but Dead Beat is here to tell you, listen to That's My Desire and the argument is over.
Dead Beat adores Frankie Laine. Truth is, was well influenced by him.
Frankie, you ain't dead. You just teaching those angels a thing or two.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Nons Ense Award 2008

Dead Beat is appalled by the paltry number of awards being awarded. It is surely not be rewarded.

In case you missed any, D.B. brings you the latest batch... more to follow....and follow.. and lead the way...and cut corners...and take illegal steroids...

Nanae Aoyama has won the 2007 (January) Akutagawa Prize for her novel Hitori Biyori.

Thomas Harris, best known for his Hannibal Lecter novels that have been filmed as The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and Red Dragon has been given the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Horror Writers Association.

Seamus Heaney has won the ₤10,000 T.S. Eliot Prize for his 2006 collection of poetry titled District and Circle. The collection is the Nobel Prize winner’s 12th book of poetry. The T.S. Eliot Prize, organized in 1993, is given annually to the best collection of new verse published the UK or Ireland.

Costa Book Awards (formerly known as the Whitbread Book Awards) have announced the category winners for 2006. The five books will now compete for the “book of the year” award that will be decided on the 7th of February. Costa Book Awards are given for both the works’ literary merit, as well as their popular appeal.

The 2006 Guardian First Book award has been given to Yiyun Li for her short story collection A Thousand Years of Good Prayers.

The 2006 Finlandia Prize — Finland’s most prestigious literary award — has been given to Kjell Westö for his Swedish language novel Där vi en gång gått (”Where we once walked”).

Antonio Gamoneda has been awarded the 2006 Miguel de Cervates Prize, which annually recognises the lifetime work of a poet who writes in Spanish. The prize, awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Culture, is worth $120,000.

This year’s winners of the Governor General’s Literary Awards have been announced. The annual prize, awarded in altogether seven categories in both French and English, is one of Canada’s most prestigious literary prizes.
This year, the fiction awards go to Peter Behrens and Andrée Laberge (fiction), John Pass and Hélène Dorion (poetry), and Daniel MacIvor and Évelyne de la Chenelière (drama).

The 2006 National Book Awards winners have been announced. This year, the Fiction prize goes to Richard Powers for his The Echo Maker, while Nathaniel Mackey is awarded the Poetry prize for his poetry collection Splay Anthem.

The winner of the 2006 Prix Renaudot, one of France’s top literary prizes, has been announced. The prize was given to Alain Mabanckou for his novel Memoires de porc-epic (”Memoires of a Porcupine”).

The recipient of the 2006 Patrick White Award has been announced. The annual prize, which was established in 1973 by the Australian novelist Patrick White with the money he received for his winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, is given to a writer who has not received adequate recognition despite of his or her long literary career. This year’s prize goes to Morris Lurie.

The 2008 Nons Ense Award is projected to be delivered to "The Day the Beat Stopped Breathing" by a writer who received adequate recognition despite his less than illustrious career.

A Million Penguins - Dead Beat's Retirement Fund

So Penguin have joined together with De Montfort University to initiate a new literary experiment - a collaborative wiki-novel - Based on the principles of Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, the novel, called A Million Penguins, is open to anyone to join in, write and edit. Participants are free change other writers' work at will.

Kind of like Dead Beat getting his hands on Pride and Prejudice and being given free reign.

An editor at Viking will blog about the collective work - and no doubt when finished it will be marketed and sold to the masses.

By God, Dead Beat is impressed. To think of all the time we waste creating and revising when someone else could be doing it for us.

So here's the deal - Dead Beat is going to publish the latest draft of his new novel and all you Wikipediaists can chop, sever, alter, annihilate at will.

D. B. wishes he had thought of this earlier. He could have stayed working in Engineering and all you Wiks could have written him a glut of successful novels for him to retire on.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Dead Beat Meets Dead Meat - The Kyoto Accord

Hudson's in a huff. He just learned that Canada's Liberal Party leader, Stephane Dion, called his husky Kyoto as a symbol of his environmental concern.

"Huskys are wusses," Hudson growled. "They pee and poop all over the Arctic. Some environmental symbol!"

"You pee and poop all over my back yard," I remind him.

"Yeh, well it's not a protected area, besides I'm just feeding back into the ecosystem. In the Arctic the poop just freezes. My point, Dad, is that you should have called me Kyoto."

"I should have called you Dead Meat!"

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Dead Beat a Reality TV Star - The Great Elusive Novel

Dead Beat has been asked to star in his own Reality TV Show. Apparently the film crew would follow him around as he sat at his keyboard and typed, or scratched his chin, or pulled at his nostril.

The Title?

The Great Elusive Novel.

The Idea?

Dead Beat would take on a number of young writers all seeking to write The Great Elusive Novel. He would put them through the motions of wringing their hands, pulling at their hair, looking up thesaureses, enrolling in MFA Courses while all the time trying to write The Great Elusive Novel. He would introduce them to Brett Easton Ellis, literary agent - The Jackel - Andrew Wylie. He would bring them to The Frankfurt Book Fair. And then he would shout, "You Just Lost Your Advance."

Dead Beat was attracted to the fame of it all for a while, but then Wylie called up Dead Beat and told him he wouldn't touch him with a ten foot biro.

Dead Beat has one thing to say to you Wylie, "You Just Lost Your Advance."

Size Zero Models and The Face of Fashion Fiction

Speaking of Death, and Dead Beat sure has been speaking of death recently. Old D.B. wants to 'weigh' in on this "size zero" debate: you know the "it has been talked about for years how dangerously thin our models are getting, but we casually ignore it until we think it might harm our career prospects and so now we are truly and honestly concerned about the effect it might have on young women's attitudes to their bodies."

Dead Beat is a little concerned himself on size zero novels. To quote XXXXX: "XXXXX wants to give out a positive image that you don't have to be ultra skinny to read good. Many of the books on the bookshelves make young writers feel insecure about their own bodies of work."
Eat your vittles and write books with a little meat on their bones.