Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bruce Springsteen is haunted by the ghost of Tom Joad.

And why shouldn't he be? One year after the release of his last album, Working on a Dream, we're still in a recession. (Okay, fine—technically, the Great Recession may have ended a few months ago, but the job market is still pretty bleak here in Chicago.) Even the Boss's drummer in the E Street Band, Max Weinberg, got laid off from his job as Conan O'Brien's bandleader last week. It's rough out there, y'all.

Any-hoo, am I the only one who sees an apparition behind Bruce on the passenger side of that old car?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Great Moments in the History of Bad Proofreading

A playbill isn't just a desolate landscape filled with random names and credits and people thanking their pets for supporting their artistic dreams. It's also a minefield laced with bad proofreading and faulty logic! Here's a favorite of mine from the playbill of a community-theater musical I saw in 1995:

In her spare time she loves to write plays and hopes to one day write her own play.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ingebrigt Håker Flaten

Tonight I was told that Norwegian free-jazz bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten is my doppelgänger.

My girlfriend and I were at the Dusty Groove America record store in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood when a man to my left looked up from the soundtracks section (alphabetized by composer, not by movie title—Dusty Groove don't mess around, y'all) and said, "Ingebrigt?"

I wasn't sure at first what he'd said—I didn't recognize any English in the question he had posed.

He followed it up with "Håker Flaten?"

Again, confusion. I was wondering where the hidden camera was located.

"You're not Ingebrigt Håker Flaten?"

At that point I remembered the bassist's name from the five years I spent proofreading the music listings at the Chicago Reader. According to the gentleman at Dusty Groove, Håker Flaten doesn't live in Chicago anymore, so it's a good thing I'm still around for false sightings.

(This is my "actor" head shot. If I don't land the role of Ingebrigt Håker Flaten in The Ingebrigt Håker Flaten Story, I'll have to fire my agent. Of course, before I take that drastic step I'll have to find an agent, but why sweat the details?)

Monday, January 4, 2010

a poem I wrote when I was seven

In 1983 my dad, an English professor at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, let me sit in on a creative writing class he taught for grade school students that summer. I wasn't yet a second grader, but he let me sit in on the class.

Over the holidays I discovered one of the poems I wrote that summer. I was such a killjoy.

Selected works from the "Words! Words! Words!" class (grades 2-4), July 18-22.


Running along
As fast as you can:
Nothing beside me,
You think in your head.
Don't worry, child,
Fear is right here.
Thinking for awhile ...
Sounds begin to talk,
Fear is with you
The rest of the way.