Ancient humor, dead animals, and Mitch Hedberg

Doing the normal internet procrastination rabbit hole thing, I came across an old article on ancient jokes. Apparently this is the oldest known joke (Sumerian, 1900 BC – 1600 BC):
Something which has never occurred since time immemorial: a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap
However, the one that caught my eye was from the Philogelos (oldest known joke book) 4th/5th century AD:
Wishing to teach his donkey not to eat, a pedant did not offer him any food. When the donkey died of hunger, he said "I've had a great loss. Just when he had learned not to eat, he died."
I think this is a pretty wicked little one-liner. The black humor and brevity even feels pretty modern. In fact, it instantly reminded me of one of my favorite jokes from one-liner king Mitch Hedberg (1968-2005).
I bought myself a parrot, but it did not say "I'm hungry", and so it died.


"the weird guy in the bear suit"

Great New York Times correction yesterday on an article about one of my favorite movies, The Shining:

Correction: January 29, 2012
An earlier version of this article incorrectly described imagery from “The Shining.” The gentleman seen with the weird guy in the bear suit is wearing a tuxedo, but not a top hat.


For Virginia Woolf's birthday

Some quotes:

"Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by his heart, and his friends can only read the title."

“Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.”

“I am rooted, but I flow.”

"It's not catastrophes, murders, deaths, diseases, that age and kill us; it's the way people look and laugh, and run up the steps of omnibuses."


pre-order me, baby

You can now pre-order Unsaid Six, which includes a story of mine called "Selections from a Sexual Survey." The new volume looks positively epic, featuring work from Brian Evenson, Diane Williams, Lorin Stein, Padgett Powell and many more. Very excited to be included.

In addition, I have two poems in the new PANK print issue, which should be shipping around now, as well as a story in the new NOON, which will be out in a few months. Great way to start 2k12.


Livin' Like a Bug Ain't Easy

I would easily listen to this Kafka rock opera record if it really existed. "Livin' Like a Bug Ain't Easy" (starting 1:14) is such a tear-jerker!

Living like a bug ain't easy
My old clothes don't seem to fit me
I got little tiny bug feet
I don't really know what bugs eat
Don't want no one stepping on me
Now I'm sympathizing with fleas
Living like a bug ain't easy

(This Japanese animated adaptation of "A Country Doctor" is great too.)


dripping dark so dense

When I was in middle school, I started listening to punk and hardcore. Easily the most important band for me at that age, and in high school, was the Dead Kennedys. The twisted collage art, the dark humor, Biafra's weird vocals, the surreal satire. An inordinate amount of my aesthetic can probably be traced back to this song in particular:


Now, I am become blog-Death, destroyer of words

I just deleted all of my 2005 blog posts and most of my 2006 ones. I'll probably thin out the early years more too. Google+ deleted all of my old images last year and it is too much work to replace them. Don't worry, there was nothing juicy deleted. It was mostly just links to random things. (Maybe I'm lying but now you'll never know!)


Pirates and friendship

It's funny that pirates were always going around searching for treasure, and they never realized that the real treasure was the fond memories they were creating.

- Jack Handey


Comic attempt #2

Here is my second attempt at a comic strip (or third really, but the other needs some revision). Check out the first comic here. This one may be a little obvious with its meaning, but I think the message is an important one in these trying economic times.


ever-shifting and contradicting blobs of absurdity

The Collagist interviewed me today about about my story "Hike" that they published last October. Mostly we talked about forests and cramming dreadfulness into fiction.

I’ve always thought that escalation is essential in fiction, so I am glad you think it builds to something. Or maybe what I mean is acceleration. I like the effect of tumbling down the slope of the story, picking of speed, getting dirt on your clothes, and nicking your skin on exposed rocks, until you crash into whatever lies at the bottom. It doesn’t have to be something violent, of course. Perhaps you tumble out into a field of dandelions. 


Boring personal reading habits 2k11

Below are all of the 70 books that I completed in 2011. Only the books I finished, not all the ones I started or read most of. 70 is a pretty healthy number, except when I filter out the graphic novels and comic collections, I only completed 26 prose books. This is not to say that prose books are superior to graphic novels or anything like that (I read so many because I'm collaborating on one with the artist and writer John Dermot Woods) but I have to acknowledge that graphic novels take me almost no time to read. The shortest ones on my list were probably completed in twenty minutes and the longest ones were still likely quicker reads than the shortest novellas. So, I'm going to break things into two lists.