Add to Technorati Favorites

Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

When clicking on an Alter Egos in the sidebar, please look above this title for video content.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Literature - It's Just Rock'N'Roll

It has been a while since The Man With the Goatee and Dead Beat shared accommodation, but every once and a while they like to chew the fat.

"Say what you been thinking about T.C.?"

"I've thought about the domination of the literary arts by theory over the past 25 years -- which I detest -- and it's as if you have to be a critic to mediate between the author and the reader and that's utter crap. Literature can be great in all ways, but it's just entertainment like rock'n'roll or a film. It is entertainment. If it doesn't capture you on that level, as entertainment, movement of plot, then it doesn't work. Nothing else will come out of it. The beauty of the language, the characterisation, the structure, all that's irrelevant if you're not getting the reader on that level -- moving a story. If that's friendly to readers, I cop to it."

"Didn't we have this conversation before, T.C.?"

"A million times, D.B.."

"Didn't I always agree with you. T.C.?"

"Doesn't everyone forget, D.B.?"

"Joyce forgot towards the end, T.C."

"Maybe we should have let him room with us, D.B."

"I thought he was the one in the corner singing to himself while writing dirty letters to his girlfriend, T.C. and never changed his socks."

"Wasn't that you, D.B.?"

"It's like you say, T.C. Doesn't everyone forget?"

Monday, November 19, 2007

Rolling Podcast: Richard Ford Reunites with John Cheever

So Dead Beat is on a roll with podcasts. Listen to this:

Richard Ford Reads John Cheever’s Reunion

Grammar Girl

Okay, Dead Beat is in Pod Cast Heaven.

Listen up: Grammar Girl

Go to her deal on prepositions.

For now here are the comments:

Amy Says:11/2/2007 5:11:58 PM We have a joke here in Boston about this: Harvard freshman: Where's the Library at? Harvard senior: Here at Hahvahd we don't end our sentences with a preposition. Harvard freshman: OK, then, where's the library at, asshole?
richard Says:11/2/2007 3:23:04 PM i like double negatives i noticed that there are no comments with no responces!! there one ha ! ha! see ya
John Says:11/2/2007 3:00:50 PM That is the sort of English up with which I shall not put!
Paul Says:11/1/2007 6:58:12 PM Great show -- I just started listening. To prove I was paying attention, I spotted your illicit use of "so" (which you critique in another episode) in this episode, as in "I'm so sorry—the horror—because that is one of the instances where it's not OK to end a sentence with a preposition!" :)
Lauren Hightower Says:10/16/2007 9:34:13 AM Great episode!
Mark Says:9/25/2007 2:50:39 PM The important point here is that grammarians are pretty much irrelevant to everyday life - they're pretty much like archaeologists, they like to think they're doing something important but really they're only commenting on things which have already passed their sell by date.
William Says:9/21/2007 8:36:14 PM `Grammatical' is improper English. The correct adjective form of `grammar' is `grammatic'. `Grammatically' is the correct adjective form.
ligneus Says:9/20/2007 8:22:29 AM "What did you bring that book I didn't want to be read to out of up for?"
Doug Rosbury Says:9/18/2007 9:50:19 PM grammatical rules Are only a guide. In my opinion, people should not be held responsible for carrying the torch of grammatical correctness. There is a certain charm in colloquialisms which Give the language color and humor. Don't put me in a prison of correctness. Doug Rosbury
B_allW@yz_unKn0wn Says:9/18/2007 2:51:04 PM i understand what everyone else is saying but i didnt even read it but if i did i would leave you saying its always important to read what you talk about...

My old friend Douglas Hofstadter is chuckling away.

The Well-Suitedness of the Book

Dead Beat, as you know, has that old streak of engineering in him, and so has for years wondered how e-books or e-magazines or e-papers should work. About eight years ago he decided that it would require a flexible screen. Imagine the cover of a magazine - two sheets/four pages. Each page would be an individual screen which could download a single page of the book/mag/paper. In this way the reader could still turn pages, have the flexibility of paper, in other words the emotional expreience. Then he wondered would a single flexible sheet do: one leaf/two pages. Then he wondered would one page do AS LONG AS IT WAS FLEXIBLE.

So what's with the flexible?

Well, he knows reading a newspaer off a screen while you are sitting at a desk is not a relaxing experience always. Nor is it necessary relaxing to read it from a laptop. Hence the flexibility. Well, like all Dead Beat's great inventions (e.g. French Fry vending machine) someone else got up off their ar#e and created it.

But now let us add this into the frey: , the world's largest Web retailer, said Monday it will begin selling an electronic book reader with wireless access, the latest attempt to build consumer interest in portable reading devices.

Wireless access, based on the cellphone broadband technology EVDO, is built into the 10-ounce, thin white device. Downloading content does not require a computer and takes less than a minute for a full-length book. The $399 electronic book device will allow downloads of more than 90,000 book titles, blogs, magazines and newspapers.

"The question is, can you improve upon something as highly evolved and well-suited to its task as the book? And if so, how?," Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said at a press conference in New York.

There it is. That's Dead Beat's point, thank you J.B.

The question is, can you improve upon something as highly evolved and well-suited to its task as the book?

The 4th Annual World's Most Disorganised Poetry Festival

Dead Beat took part recently in The 4th Annual World's Most Disorganised Poetry Festival (their words not mine). This all happened in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Dead Beat extends his gratitude to the chief Disorganiser and very fine poet to boot, Ross Leckie.

Dead Beat knows you all wish you were there to have cheered him on. Well all is not lost. Thanks to Zach Wells there is a recording of the Saturday night program featuring that well known scoundral D.B. himself. Feel free to take a listen, D.B. is second up. Your cheers and applause precede you.

Click for chaos and mayhem

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Weird Guy Tells The Truth

So The Weird Guy gets onto Dead Beat.

"Thanks for the plug yesterday."
"No prob, Denny boy, you need all the help you can get. So what's with the sprawling book?"
"My opus, you know."
"That's where fiction leads you."
"Tell me more."
"You're working with facts in journalism, but you're under all kinds of formal constraints; there are expectations. Their influence is subtle, but it's there; it's perpetual. Imagine the reader, imagine the readership. That's the pressure I always felt. When I'm writing for Esquire, my conscious thought is, I'm not writing for American Scholar. Because you're always allowing something to go to work on material that is factual, you're going to end up with a lie, it seems to me. Now if you take a lie and allow your desire for the truth, your duty to work on it, you'll end up with some truth—not fact, but something that gets you closer to the truth."
"So one big fat lie."
"You got it."
"So how come I haven't written my opus? I've told a few lies in my lifetime."
"Who would have believed it."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Weird Guy

So Denis Johnson won the National Book Award for Tree of Smoke, a 600-page journey through the physical, moral and spiritual extremes of the Vietnam War. D.B. hasn't read it yet but has long admired Johnson's swagger and swarth.

Good to see Sherman Alexie making the grade too for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

D.B. remembers Alexie well from his days in Spokane.

Anyway let us leave the last words to Jonathan Franzen, who won the National Book award six years ago for The Corrections and has been extolling Johnson for years:

"He's a weird guy. His fiction is great, but it's weird, and I was simply awestruck at the way he stepped up to write a Big American Novel about ordinary people. It's as if Paul Bowles started writing like Norman Mailer."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Arrogance of Writing

Dead Beat mourns the passing of Norman Mailer.

Nevertheless he is reminded how much they have in common.

For a start, Mailer like Dead Beat completed his degree in Engineering. "I studied it for the first couple of years and realized I didn't want to be an engineer and I wasn't going to be a good one. But I stayed on and got my degree in engineering."

See, you could never tell if it was Dead Beat or Mailer speaking here. And what about here:

"You almost can't become a serious professional writer unless there is a built-in arrogance in yourself that you have something special about yourself. It's a vanity, and when the vanity is misplaced, as it usually is, it's sad, if not tragic. But once in a while you're up to your own idea of yourself. "

Friday, November 09, 2007

What Al Said

Dead Beat, as you know, always listen keenly to Al. But Dead Beat upped and left and forgot to tell his Al his whereabouts. So when Al finally tracks him down Dead Beat is all ears.

"Hey Dead Beat,

let me tell ya a story; a friend of mine calls me up and says "Al I've started back at writing poetry and I'm on a tear, I need a little advice, can you help me out?" I says "Digger (his last job before retiring was cemetery attendent) I don't read or write poetry, but the Guild should be able to assist you. Are you still writing using a rhyming scheme?" He says "Ya, you know I read some verse libre, but I found it vague, lacking substance, more metiphor than meat." I says "Digger, I think there is someone who can help, he says what he means and means what he says. Where you grew up in Northern Ontario and toiled in the shield as a hard rock-miner, this guy worked the mills of the Northwest Pacific." So I gave Digger a couple of books, one of prose,poetry and essays; the other a collection of stories that a friend gave me. It's been a while since Digger called and I made some inquiries into his whereabouts. I hear he loaded up his pack and left to camp out in Carver Country. `Tis a beautiful thing."

Dead Beat says to Al, "There could be worse places. There are no better."

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Late Nights On Air - Elizabeth Hay

So last Thursday Dead Beat is sharing a bevvie with Elizabeth Hay and talking about the north. This Thursday Elizabeth Hay is the winner of the Giller Prize and Dead Beat is getting no share.

Story of his life.