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On House Ghosts

Even building a new house doesn't guarantee you'll avoid the haunts, vengeful or otherwise. Remember "Poltergeist?" New subdivision built on an old burial ground, lots of bad stuff ensues. "They're here..."

Posted on July 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm 1

On The Stupidity Of New York's Long, Expensive (And Ongoing) War On Graffiti

@LokoOno -- And risk getting knifed? And somehow I doubt your own life isn't comfortable and middle-class.

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 9:42 am 0

On The Stupidity Of New York's Long, Expensive (And Ongoing) War On Graffiti

"The subway's exteriors have been art-free since 1989, but the war has never really ended." Like, that's a bad thing? Sorry, Adam, you lost me at the scare quotes on "War on Graffiti." The city PTBs didn't need to demonize the graffiti "artists" -- the "art" and the "thinking" behind it were demonic from the git-go.

Art? I don't think so. I rode those subways all over the city in the 70s and 80s, and they were disgusting. The "artwork" was vandalism, pure and simple -- hostile, repellent, ugly, intimidating, and everywhere. It was like having to listen to somebody's boom box and smell their cigarette smoke and try to avoid attracting their attention for an hour at a time, all while trying to read essential signage that's been obliterated by spray paint -- when all you wanted to do was get to work on time. This happened a lot, no fooling.

An "an outpouring of creativity and frustration"? Please.

"...prison terms as long as eight years, and ... six-figure restitutions"? Good.

To characterize the sanctions on graffiti as a limitation of free speech is silly. Want to make ugly paintings and meaningless messages? Fine, do it on your own house, not someplace where I can't avoid looking at it day in and day out. What was written on the subway walls was not the words of the prophet, but orcish scrawl, and I'm glad it's gone.

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 9:17 am 0

On The Pope's Twitter Handle Is @Pontifex, and He Won't Follow You

"Pontifex" means a member of the College of Pontiffs. It's an ancient Roman designation, and has been in use for thousands of years. The Catholic church kept the term, and the pope has been known as pontifex maximus since somewhere around 500 a.d. If The Awl is serious about "being less stupid," we encourage you to look stuff like that up, and not take unfunny and ill-informed cheap shots. It's possible to be funny and relevant and not idiotic, all at the same time, but you need to do your homework.

Posted on December 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm 0

On Being James Bond Also Makes You Get Really Old, Very Quickly!

@NotAndersonCooper -- SnarkForMillennials.com

Posted on November 10, 2012 at 10:28 am 0

On Being James Bond Also Makes You Get Really Old, Very Quickly!

Those comparisons are of images taken decades apart. What's the point, here? What do you think you're going to look like in 20 years, huh?

Posted on November 10, 2012 at 7:46 am 0

On Who Was The World's First Blogger?

To believe that blogging is a new thing is to be foolishly stuck in the present tense. People have been writing journals, diaries, essays, almanacs, all of it, for centuries, if not millennia. Now it's called blogging, and the only difference is that such musings can be published without the intermediatory benefits of editing or even proofreading, and the writings of people with no talent for it and essentially nothing to say are read by millions.

Posted on November 10, 2012 at 7:42 am 0

On Ask Polly: I Can't Stop Procrastinating!

The thing about being an editor is that you get to see how awful others' work can be before it's sorted out by.... you! I liken it to taking in laundry; that is, I'm cleaning up the messes made by people who make lots more money than I do. One of the ancillary problems with the gig is that the other laundresses delight in pointing out how you missed a gravy stain that's very tiny but happens to be smack in the middle of the front of Gordon Gecko's dress shirt and totally ruins the whole outfit. And that period really needs to go outside the close-quote, HAH!

But I like it, and it beats taking in actual laundry. And I can work on my novel while I'm waiting for new work to prance across the job board like a contestant on The Dating Game, or whatever the incarnation of that show is today.

Count your blessings, LW. Don't quit that job. You have to support yourself, and, believe me, there are way worse ways to do that than a position that's well-paying and provides excellent health insurance, that you're (very) good at, and where your boss is an awesome mentor who respects you and allows you autonomy. Believe me, I say, because I've had some of those jobs.

Read Polly's anti-procrastination jeremiad every morning with your coffee until you're feeling better. Then put it down, go to work, come home, and start writing.

Posted on November 3, 2012 at 9:28 am 1

On A Ton of Long Things You Can Start Watching on Netflix Now!

"Days of Heaven" by Terrence Malick. Simply beautiful, a Bruegel painting plopped down in the American heartland. Tristan and Isolde, except Isolde is a little golddigger and Tristan a clueless peasant. Narration by a child with the most interesting accent you ever did hear.

Posted on October 30, 2012 at 3:13 pm 0

On Some Advice On Sleeping

"I love sleep. My life has a tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, y’know?” -Ernest Hemingway

Posted on August 21, 2012 at 8:08 pm 0