Reading Dorian on WiZ


We haven't had many thvlogs lately so if you're needing a thvoice fix, skip on over to the Wilderness Interface Zone.


I share with Snoopy my opinion on intellectual and spiritual humility (a svithe)


Aug 9 1976

    The example one of my fellow teachers uses is dinosaurs. Not long ago, we all "knew" dinosaurs were giant plodding cold-blooded behemoths whose tails dragged on the ground. And today? They're birds. The second I meet someone utterly convinced of anything, is the moment my skepticism in their claims triples.

    Sometimes we Mormons give off the impression that we agree with Joseph Smith when he says "We believe all that God has revealed, [and] all that He does now reveal," but that we've forgotten the end of the sentence, viz, that we also believe "He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." And to me, that last third is every bit as vital to my spiritual self-identity. And so, once again, any mortal convinced he knows all there is to know--even if by virtue of being part of the One True Church--instantly makes me wary. It's good to have faith and it's good to know what we know. I just need to remember that I'm not the source of the knowledge. And the view I have is awfully myopic.

We can't form communities without these humilities.

last week's svithe


The Big O - K


A couple weeks ago when the Big O saw this video he told us that that song made him feel good about going to kindergarten. (I suspect that's not just because of what the song says but also because of the pivotal role Napoleon Dynamite has played in his upbringing.)

Since then he had gone from ambivalent-at-best to a growing excitement. And although as he stood in line today he showed a bit of trepidation, he only waved when I showed up. No breaking from line. He's ready to go to school

One more year of school is nothing to me. To him --- each year is huge. I can already feel the years slipping by with increasing rapidity.

Ah, dear Mortality. Here she comes again.


Sharing the Polygamy Burden

Dialogue 4202/Summer 2009.

Both SP Bailey and I have polygamy-themed short fiction in the current issue of Dialogue (unless fall's out; it may be).

Shawn's story is of a type I'm seeing a lot of in both fiction and verse of late --- especially within Mormondom, but that may be more reflective of my reading. The story, "Triptych: Plural", is three shortshorts apparently connected by nothing other than a touching on polygamy. The first is a Mormon couple moved to Pennsylvania and the first hints of fallout when the wife makes a polygamy joke (except for half a page of excruciatingly unreal dialogue, this is the probably the best of the three; a great glimpse into two marriages). The second, Boy Scouts tour an old polygamist's home and admire the trapdoor he used to hide in (this is the weakest of the three although it does have a hilarious moment that certainly makes the whole thing worth it). The third finds a newly wed Mormon couple on a long plane flight when the polygamy's long shadow suddenly and unpleasantly rears up (this one is flawless and sharp).

My only real complaint with "Triptych" can be rephrased so it's not a complaint at all. Watch:

What we seem to be witnessing here is the development of a new form of storytelling wherein there is no single story, and the existing stories ain't the point. The point is topic or theme or situation and by examining such from a series of viewpoints, we begin to triangulate its location and significance. And that's an interesting development.

I need to take a ride on that boat and see how it feels from a creative standpoint.

My story on the other hand ("The Widower") is a true short story in the classic sense. And, needless to say, it's awesome. So follow the link and read it.

Other than that, I'm not planning on analyzing it. I may read it and if I do, I may change my mind and revisit it, but as it is, I feel I've mentioned it enough.

Instead I'll include a letter I received after the story appeared in print (it also went to D's editors), with permission of the letter's author. It's a dandy. If you want to read more about "the Widower" from me, I'm adding a "The Widower" tag so you can view all the old mentions.

    June 17, 2009

    Mr. Jepson,

    I just finished reading "The Widower," in _Dialogue_ Vol. 42.2 (2009). Thank you for writing "The Widower." I found the story enjoyable, unpretentious and hard working.

    Fiction that is richly tectured and densely packed challenges me and, perhaps, intimidates me. I usually lay richly textured and densely packed fiction aside with the intent to pick it up at a time in the future when my energy level is high and I am prepared to deal with density. For me those two conditions seldom occur together. So I have much richly textured and densely packed unread fiction lying about.

    On the other hand, I was forced by circumstance to put "The Widower," aside twice. Tonight I waited for my wife to go to her meeting. The, with alacrity, I picked up my _Dialogue_ found my book mark, and read with "the Widower," with much enjoyment.

    Some fiction is pretentious. It is probably true that I am intimidated by such fiction. I think of myself as a simple man. Writers who write to impress other writers seem to abound--especially in Mormon fiction. And some of it is bad writing. John Ciardi said, "If a man means his writing seriously, he must mean to write well. But how can he write well until he learns to see what he has written badly. His progress toward good writing and his recognition of bad writing are bound to unfold at something like the same rate." For me writing seriously means writing for readers, not for other writers and literary types whose pretentions are as transparent as their prose is opaque.

    "The Widower," is a hard working story. Some fiction writers expect the reader to do all the heavy lifting. Some fiction writers think convoluted adverbial phrases are indispensible. Some writers wouldn't be caught with a straightforward plot, characters and storyline like "The Widowers." I think, frankly, such writers will be caught dead and buried--perhaps ostentatiously, but will be little mourned.

    In "The Widower," you give the reader realistic detail--how it feels to throw papers on an early morning newspaper route. That's meat and potatoes stuff. God bless it. Your characters are warm, rich, good people who, God Bless Them, don't overtly honk their warmth and richness and goodness. You, as the author, keep ahead of the reader, but not too far ahead.

    As I said, I found "The Widower," enjoyable, unpretentious and hard working. Again, thank you for writing the story.

    I thank _Dialogue_ for publishing "The Widower." When my subscription to _Dialogue_ comes up for renewal, I'll renew.

    With best wishes.

    Larry Day

Thank you, Larry. This is one of the kindest letters I have ever received.


Svithe: my testimony of human fallibility


Yesterday as part of a planned and structured activity I went to the temple with about twenty other men. Our children had a children's activity on the temple grounds and the women had a temple activity identical to the men's (initiatories, if you were wondering). When the men showed up, the temple was expecting us and yet understaffed and we spent our allotted time waiting. we sat around and talked, and then left to get our kids. We did not do what we had expected to do at all. We had an enjoyable time, but others' errors prevented us from performing the spiritual service expected.

I've heard many stories in my day of people who get horribly offended by mistakes and errors and foolishness of other people, and all such offense to determine their own spiritual fate.

At the risk of offending, let me say this: That's stupid.

Anyone who expects that any human will treat any other human always and without exception as if carrying a cushion is a lunatic. Use your own mother as an example. I'll bet she's made you mad before. How much more likely then someone whom you know and love less well?

The temple teaches that all truth may be circumscribed into one great whole and here's something that's true: Human beings are fallible. And that truth, as will all others, belongs to Mormonism. So the challenge for me is how to incorporate this truth into my understanding of life and love and faith and progress.

And while that's an interesting question with many a possible answer, here's one: I'm fallible too and God loves me. So how much more should I love my fellow fallibles?

Which is a good takeaway for me, today, now, the moments before the school year rears its, ah, head, and I'm back to work,

Go forth in love.

last week's svithe


The End of Life as We Knew It


School starts Tuesday after my second job starts Monday. I hope to keep up with my novel-writing, as well as reading and commenting upon my fellow Fobs' works-in-progress. Plus we have three kids to love and spend time with (mostly this means baseball)). Et cetera.

I've never worked a sixty-hour week before. How in the world am I going to read all those AP papers?

Also: I need to remember to eat. And sleep. At least four hours a night. At least.

I might be more comfortable if this weeks-old cough would go away.

At least I'll always have the Sabbath.....


Music and Movies (late for half credit)


Just before school ended, another teacher asked me to put together a list of music and movies for him which I never did. Until now. In slapdash fashion.

I was also planning to make this a nice multipost piece of bloggery with embedded videos etc. But you know what? Screw it. This will just have to be good enough.

(At least I snuck into Lady Steed's account and used Blogger's Compose feature to get the links hypered.)


Sorry this took so long. My summer has been crazy and without break since our first days 'off". But I promised to do this during the summer and darn it I'm going to make that deadline!

First, you should know that I have a strong and abiding bias for the feminine voice. In the interests of Title IX I will throw a few boys in here, but expect everything to be skewed heavily to the girls. I've mostly left out classic acts because (you don't need me to steer you to the Beatles or Gram Parsons) and big names (she may still be around, but you've heard of Sheryl Crow). There are a few exceptions because darn it I can't not talk about Natalie Merchant and Emmylou Harris (waiting for the duets cd, waiting waiting waiting).

When possible, I have supplemented my meandering comments with YouTubery.

The Beautiful South
Belle & Sebastian
BS is defunct and B&S has changed its lineup quite a bit and no longer lets the girls sing. But both bands are definitely worth checking out. If you get one album from each, maybe, mm, 0898 for BS and Boy with the Arab Strap for B&S.

The Breeders
These bands share members who were also once in Throwing Muses. I don't like Throwing Muses hardly at all, but I love these two. Belly is the mellow one and The Breeders are the noisy one, although you might not be able to tell that by these videos:

Billy Joe Shaver
You must know Billy Joe. But he's the outlaw who gets the least love. So yay Billy.

Blackhawk's first album in the mid 90s was very cool. Then they got boring. Shame.

Bree Sharp
Bree Sharp is witty and clever and fun but, alas, she doesn't hold up to three dozen listens. Stop at two.

Millers (Buddy and Julie)
Best married couple in the business I would wager. And unlike Elvis/Diana, these two just make each other better. they also record albums apart and appear on other people's records. Buddy, for instance, is on every Lucinda Williams record I own.

The Cardigans
Best known for their twee years, they grew up and became a new kind of cool. Besides. I love Scandinavian bands. There's only a couple on this list, but that's not really indicative of how many I genuinely dig.

Cat Power
Can't go wrong with this voice.

Cherish the Ladies
Celtic chicks. Their take on "The Leader of the Band" is fantastic, too. I couldn't find a great example of them, so here's a video that makes them just any other celtic band:

The Concretes
The Concretes are pretty good, but I have to say, the best thing their lead singer has done is that PB&J song:

The Cranberries
Yes. I like them very much.

The Cruel Sea
I don't know any other band that sounds quite like this Aussie number, which its singers low low voice and their funky instrumentals.

Dead Can Dance
Medieval house music? Sort of?

Eddie From Ohio
Not all their stuff is as great as their great stuff, but when they're on their game, no one's more delightful.

Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris is the greatest human being to ever hold a guitar. Science says so. Whenever someone gets Emmylou to sing back up for them, that song becomes the greatest they have ever recorded.

Fiona Apple
It took me a long time to get to like Fiona Apple, but I'm glad I took the time. I'm including her in case you dismissed her as quickly as I once did.

Because they're awesome.

Grant Lee Philips
Grant Lee Philips makes cool music--cool in the jazz sense, only altcountry, if that makes sense. Back when he was a "band" called Grant Lee Buffalo, he sounded about the same as he does now, only with a grunge twist. I would say get his album Mobilize.

Heather Nova
Her Caribbean, raised-on-a-boat roots show in her music, in her gorgeous ethereal vocals and arrangements. Her first two albums are her best.

Imogen Heap
Overplayed, but I still love her. Even SNL couldn't ruin her for me.

The one album is Laid, but all their stuff is pleasant to listen too. But Laid and the simultaneosly recorded improv record are their best.

Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins
This is the cd I leant you. Didn't want you to forget it.

JuJu Club
My favorite Korean band. No question.

He writes the most beautiful/vulgar music I know. I didn't really know that combination was possible before him. No One Is Really Beautiful is the album I know best.

Kasey Chambers
This denizen of Oz is probably the best thing since Emmylou Harris. Trying to pick one song to recommend from her is simply impossible. Run down as many as you can find.

Kelly Willis
Kelly Willis is also wonderful. I'm guessing you know her and I'm running out of adjectives, so we'll leave it at that.

Kevin Montgomery
I used to describe him as the male, country Heather Nova. Or the country James. So if you liked though, here's him.

The Killers
Big band now, but I really like them.

Lisa Loeb
I just rediscovered Lisa Loeb on a kids' cd I bought. That cd, Camp Lisa, is fantastic! I love it! Finally, a cd my kids like that doesn't drive me bonkers. (Though I do sometimes skip the woodchuck tracks.)

Lucinda Williams
Everyone knows how good she is. But it bears repeating.

Matthew Sweet
Mr Sweet is my favorite guitar rocker. He just came out with a new album which is pretty good, but I still think 100% Fun is still his best. He's also been doing covers albums with Susanna Hoffs that I've been meaning to check out.

Miranda Lee Richards
Best $1 I ever spent. What this perfect album was doing in the Amoeba dollar bins I'll never know. She just barely came out with a second album, but you can't go wrong with The Herethereafter.

Moonpools & Caterpillars
This band is incredibly important to me. "Hear" entirely changed the way I interact with music.

Natalie Merchant (10000 Maniacs inclusive)
Most people stopped knowing anything about Natalie Merchant c. 1998. But I hope that's not true of you, because I think you would really dig what she's doing now. (Though I can't find anything super new on YouTube.)

Neko Case
Her new album is good, but my top recommendation for you, if you're still willing to give her another chance, is Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. But this is the new single:

Pandora tells me I like lots of vamping. I'm not sure what vamping is, but Pandora says Poe does it in spades and I do love me my Poe.

The Raconteurs
Best new band of the last three year, as far as rock's concerned, IMHO.

Regina Spektor
Last two albums have been great. Here's her biggest hit, to give you a taste, but check out her deeper catalogue as well:

Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band
Their new big-label contract hasn't made them huge and Simplified is still their best. (Except maybe the new one --- haven't heard it.)Simplified is the only cd I've ever owned where I ended up reading the entire lyrics before ever putting the cd in the player.

Sixpence None the Richer
She has one of my favorite voices. And I'm still not over how pretty she is in this video:

Glam lives! Or it least it experienced a brief revival in the mid90s with their fabulous The Chinese Album.

The Sundays
Static and Silence is the most beautiful album I have ever heard. Period. (The others are good too.)

Sunfall Festival
Monday 23 is one of the greatest albums ever recorded. And Bang Band Bang and 23b are also great enough to buy and love. You asked me who my favorite indie band is? This is it. This is it.

They Might Be Giants
One of my alltime favorite bands. Their work is so broad it's hard to pick a "representative song", but here's something:

Tina and the B-Side Movement
Now called Tina and the B-Sides. But I only have the one album under the old name.

Tori Amos
Tori's albums vary a lot in style. My favorite album is Scarlet's Walk, but that may be because it's her most "accessible" (or whatever). Close-seconds include Boys for Pele, To Venus and Back, and Choirgirl Hotel. This video is to her second-to-most-recent album:

Ryan Adams makes music under his own name now which is also good, but of the stuff I've heard, my favorite is still Pneumonia.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Rock and roll, baby. This is the song the kids know because it was included in Guitar Hero:

A brief symphonic shoutout:
Arvo Pärt is my favorite of the modernists.

Some favorite movie cds:
The Muppet Movie
Garden State
Ocean's Eleven



Movies in the categories you requested.

Although, before I start, don't expect ten in each category and don't expect that this list I am making today will agree with the list I would make tomorrow. And I should also say up front that I love the following groups of films with about one exception per category: Coen Bros. comedies, Hitchcock films, Pixar films, Wes Anderson movies, Charlie Kaufman movies, Marx Bros. movies; Buster Keaton movies.... So even if I don't include The Hudsucker Proxy in comedies, it should have implied inclusion.

Then, to make it easier on me here in the last minute, I went to IMDb's top movies by rank and category and then picked out what I liked from those lists of the best fifty. Sometimes it wasn't a lot.

(I actually put these ones in order from best to least.)Singin' in the Rain, Up, Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, Annie Hall, The General, (500) Days of Summer, Back to the Future, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Dr. Strangelove

Star Wars, The Matrix, WALL·E, Back to the Future, Iron Man, The Iron Giant

Sports films are easy to do adequately, but I can't really think of any that I truly think are great.

Of live actions musicals, Singin' in the Rain is pretty much it.

Psycho, with the following as distant, distant seconds: What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and The Birds

The Ox-Bow Incident
High Noon
Back the the Future Part III

Chick Flicks
(This isn't an IMDb category, but I have a few answers.)
Win a Date with Tad Hamilton. Because I like it.

The following don't have proper IMDb pages, though for the decade question I did use IMDb's decade's-best pages to narrow it down, assuming that a good movie will be most representative.

Great movies by auteurs who made (or are making) lots of movies but don't get much cred for being good:
About a Boy (not that Weitz is all the prolific yet, but this is one great movie)
(and i'm drawing blanks although I know I should be able to come up with several more)

Films most representative of their decade (not indicative, necessarily, of my taste):
1911-20: Birth of a Nation
1921-30: Sunrise
1931-40: Modern Times
1941-50: Casablanca
1951-60: High Noon
1961-70: In the Heat of the Night
1971-80: Taxi Driver
1981-90: ET
1991-2000: Pulp Fiction
2001-present: The Royal Tenenbaums

Darryl Hannah movies
Sorry to say that of the ones I have seen all the way through, I didn't like any all that much. But Blade Runner's the best of the lot.


So....better late than never, right?


New One Story Plan


One StorySo I like One Story, as you know. And I'm always thinking I should review their issues. But I have never gotten around to it. But today, after reading Rocky Point, Mexico, I realized the way to do it: Thwitter.

So from now on I will be reviewing new issues of One Story on Thwitter as they come out. My original plan was to mark those entries with a #onestory, but I just discovered that they have a Twitter account so I'll just mark them with @onestorymag instead.

I'll post two tonight and then as I read the new issues. I may go back and give shoutouts to some past favorites that I still think about like Owen King's “The Cure”,
Ron Carlson's “Beanball” and Sam Allingham's “Bar Joke, Arizona,” but we'll see.

16th Five Books of 2009


don't miss evidence of the riproaring feb party


When I posted the fifteenth five last week, I figured that would be the last five for a while. But then I dipped into some comics I had been leant. They were massive volumes which was why I took so long to pick them up in the first place, but I'm glad I did.

Runaways 2.27

Although the series offers plenty of examples of the problems inherent in serialized fiction, it also offers a lot of fun per dollar.

But that's not all I've finished since a couple weeks ago. Let's get started.

080) Runaways Vol. 3: The Good Die Young by Brian K Vaughan et al, finished August 15
    This book exacerbates all the faults with the series that I had been able to overlook at the beginning, but it also digs deeper into the series's strengths. In all, I would definitely pick up a fourth and fifth volumes (the double cliffhanger surely helps).

    four days

079) Runaways, Vol. 2 by Brian K Vaughan et al, finished August 13
    Not as good as the first one, though Molly's too-young dialogue is perhaps less of a problem. A nice series. Good superhero variant.

    five days

078) The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, finished August 10
    Look at me! Only six seven years behind the zeitgeist!

    Anyway, good book. Surprised it made the BBC's 100 Books list, but it was short and reasonably insightful and worth reading.

    about four months

077) Runaways, Vol. 1 by Brian K Vaughan et al, finished August 10
    I can't remember what all I was going to say now (baby was born between finishing the book and writing this), but I liked it a lot and it was fun and I could make good comparisons to Manhunter and Blue Beetle, which I also liked. I'm glad Jane Dough forced the first three volumes on me.

    one long night

076) Essex County Volume 1: Tales From The Farm (Essex County) by Jeff Lemire, finished August 8
    Oh, it's everything everyone has said. Powerfully moving, with melting-ink art. I just knew I would regret not buying the 4-in-1 volume at Comic Con and having Lemire sign it and sketch in it. Alas, alas.

    The tale of young Lester, recently orphaned, and his small community where all know all and always have.

    Beautiful work.

    Essex County 1 by Jeff Lemire, near the end

    (More at Fobcomics.)

    half an hour or less


the first five, 1-5
the second five, 6-10
the third five, 11-15
the fourth five, 16-20
the fifth five, 21-25
the sixth five, 26-30
the seventh five, 31-35
the eighth five, 36-40
the ninth five, 41-45
the tenth five, 46-50
the eleventh five, 51-55
the twelfth five, 56-60
the thirteenth five, 61-65
the fourteenth five, 66-70
the fifteenth five, 71-75


The Ditching-Church Svithe


I'm at home in my pajamas. Lady and Little Lord Steed are asleep in the other room. The Big O and the Large S are to Church with my parents. I'm supposed to be conducting a meeting today but that's not going to happen.

When I was younger I was much more rigid about visible letter-of-the-law stuff like Going to Church. Now, here, in the twilight of my life, my conception of What's Important has changed.

This is to be expected, I suppose. Life is a process of sorting, after all. But what are the criteria by which we make these alterations? Because clearly we do not all reach the same decisions, even when we come from the same tradition.

So, question: What criteria do/should we use as we alter our views of What Matters Most?

I'm curious. And I'm sure you've thought about it. So do dish.

last week's svithe


Our House and Some of the People Who Were in It Today


He's not pictured, but the advent of Little Lord Steed had resulted in many revelers this weekend, including two parents, four grandparents, one aunt, one uncle, one girlfriend of uncle, two siblings, and three houseflies.

I just picked this photo because it shows off the pretty paint.

thteed household




Active labor. No posts for immediate future.



075) A Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare> by Jeremy Butterfield, finished August 8
    I love books on words. This one, specifically, is on the Oxford corpus and all the dandy things we can learn by examining it.

    Damp SquidUnfortunately, I didn't think to make a list of fascinating facts as I did with the next book on this list, but you should not take that to mean that I did not enjoy this book as much. I enjoyed this book immensely. I want you to consider me now, at this moment, pressing both Damp Squid and How Sex Works into your hands and saying Read! Read! You must read!

    This book was so good, I stopped reading How Sex Works's chapter on intercourse to come back to it and read some more about words.


    threeish weeks

074) How Sex Works: Why We Look, Smell, Taste, Feel, and Act the Way We Do by Dr. Sharon Moalem, finished August 6
    Don't you just love a riviting nonfiction book? One that you can't put down because you're just learning so many interesting things? I've been reading two and it's marvelous.

    This is the one about sex.

    Two brief observations, then I'll get down to business.

    How Sex WorksOne: This book is rife with typos. An unbelievable number. What, were they afraid sex was going to go out of style two weeks later if they did a last pass for errors? I just hope the errors stuck with grammar and didn't actually screw with content.

    Two: I'm fascinated with how the author personified Evolution. The text of the book treats Evolution as a godlike figure who wants things and causes things and influences things. But the moral of the story is even if Evolution made you a philanderer, you still have the brain Evolution gave you and you need not do what Evolution wants. It's a very postmodern religious idea.

    Now down to business. I've made a list of facts from this book that I found particularly interesting. That *I* found particularly interesting. Which means if you find them interesting at all, reading the book will provide ones you are charmed by even more. For instance, I didn't write down anything about crocodile feces because I already knew what Cleopatra did with it. So it wasn't that interesting. To me. You might feel differently.

    This book was a blast. Pick one up. (Or wait for the second printing if you're easily annoyed by lousy copyediting. Harper should certainly know better. No wonder traditional publishing's in the crapper.)

      in the last 150 years, the age for menarche has dropped from 17 to 12

      5% of people have a supernumerary nipple

      hourglass-shaped women are ~30% more fertile

      during arousal breasts can grow 25%

      hourglass-shaped women's children seem to be smarter

      16c-18c slang for the vulva: "hey nonny no" (which remakes my understanding of Much Ado About Nothing)

      menarche - first menstruation
      thelarche - first breast growth
      pubarche - first pubic hair growth

      popularity of the Brasilian wax is threatening the existence of crabs

      symbiosis: pubic and underarm sweat provides nutrients to feed microbes that create our personalized scents

      new trend in South Korea: pubic hair transplants

      it's possible to grow a baby to term outside the uterus

      Fallopian tubes not directly connected to ovaries --- they just open up into the same cavity we find intestines and the liver in

      ancient Egyptians made tampons of papyrus

      pitocin (for inducing labor) is a synthesized version of oxytocin, famous for its role in orgasm

      oxytocin may also help with autism symptoms

      the erect penis of a gorilla is about 1.5 inches long

      when a queen bee mates, in midair, you can hear an audible pop when the drone ejaculates and then his penis breaks off

      1999 study showed women 11xs more likely to experience discomfort during intercourse with a circumsized partner

      chimp semen can be so thick and sticky it can form a plug to keep out other males' semen

      Pythagoras's followers belived semen was a 'clot of brain containing hot vapor'

      semen includes sugar to fuel the sperm

      semen is alkaline to neutralize the acidic vagina

      having 15% of your sperm be viable is topnotch

      it seems that viewing porn that features men as well as women increases the sense of reproductive competition and thus sperm count and sperm quality

      the BBC commisioned on-camera semen taste-testing

      semen allergies do exist

      being in love makes other people less attractive

      gay men's brains react to male odors the same way straight women's do

      women (both straight and gay) prefer the smell of straight men to gay men

      more folate = more healthy sperm
      dark skin prevents UV from destroying folate
      therefore tall dark and handsom tend to have better sperm

      women with more symmetrical partners have more orgasms

      plastic surgery started in the 16th century for syphallis-destroyed noses

      monkeys will pay for pornography (spec. pictures of girl monkeys' butts)

      Jared Diamond wrote a book called Why Is Sex Fun?! Why didn't I know this?

      stimulating the G-Spot generally also stimulates the female prostate

      the prostate has the highest concentrate of zinc in the body and so does the prostate's contribution to semen

      feel like you're gonna pee before orgasm, ladies? it's probably female ejaculation

      zinc is bad for bacteria

      female ejaculate may help prevent urinary infections

      cranberries have a chemical that coats the bladder and keeps out germs

      oysters are loaded with zinc

      regular oral sex may decrease a woman's immune responce against that person's sperm, making fertilization more likely --- it also decreases the chances of preeclampsia (actually swallowing the semen provides the most protection from that potentially disasterous condition)

      there's video evidence out there somewhere of homosexual duck necrophilia (duck-on-dead-duck action!) --- he kept it up for an hour

      the female relations of gay men tgend to have more children than the female relatives of only straight men --- so it may be that there is a gene that causes men to like men, and it has survived because it also makes women like me

      proportion of ring to index fingers in lesbians is closer to that in males than in straight women

      the placenta prevents ~75% of HIV-infected mothers from passing it on to their children

      ≥¼ of American adults infected with HPV

      syphilis = 'great pox' in opposition to which comes the name small pox

      he marks condoms at 87% effective at preventing HIV transmission

      HIV most infectious immediately after initial infection

      HIV on the rise among seniors. Thank you, Viagra!
      (/16% of new cases in 2005)

      some plants mimic The Pill to cut down on the next generation of animals that like to eat them

      Google the Bruce effect

      Casanova wore condoms --- perhaps mostly to prevent nun pregnancies (they were made of dead animals in his day)

      there's a Thai group that offers free vasectomies on Father's Day

      Taking the Pill? That bleeding you experience isn't menstruation but withdrawal. If you don't stop taking the real Pill, you'll never have a period. (Although you will still spot now and then and if you get pregnant, you won't know it.)

      The Pill's side effects can include bigger, ah, boobs

      Women-on-the-Pill's ability to sniff out genetic diversity is reversed --- which might explain the increase in divorce, when lover's smell is not so good once you stop taking it

      Get this word: teledildonics

    a week

073) We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson, finished August 6
    The Big O asked me to read this book to him. And, to my surprise, stayed interested clear to the end. I think because of the pov choice I discussed last time I wrote about this book. He was engaged by the book entire --- LOVED it! --- when I thought he would only care about the pictures. I was happy to be proved wrong.

    Lady Steed and I have wondered about how much of the race issues Biggo was aware of as we read, and I really don't know. I'm coming to the opinion that while being white means we have the luxury of believing we live in a postrace society, protecting our children from reality may not be the best choice. It's hard to know though. But this book is so much more than racism. It's a book of baseball. And that's what O loves.

    We Are the Ship

    a week or so because the kid went to the grandparents for four days

072) The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, finished July 29
    Neil Gaiman, ladies and gentlemen, Neil Gaiman as finally done it. Neil Gaiman has finally written a novel worthy of his talent. I no longer have to insist people read his comics and short stories. I no longer have to say, of his novels, yes they are good BUT. Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book is pretty much perfect.

    This macabre riff on The Jungle Book is so good that it's hard even to know where to start talking about it. It functions on so many levels.

    So instead I'll just say this.

    I am buying a copy.
    It's going with us to read aloud on long trips.
    I am pressing it on friends.

    Basically, this book is all of Gaiman's merits --- not stretched out to novel form --- but woven together into a marvelous booklength tapestry.

    If you're wondering if I'm ever going to stop gushing and say something substantial, the answer is no.

    Great book. Great great book.

    I'm so glad he waited twenty years till he was good enough to write it.

    two or so weeks

071) The Left Bank Gang by Jason, finished July 22


    Finally! I've finally read a Jason book all the way through! And it did not disappoint. Anthropomorphic dogs named Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald spend their days making comics; and criticizing the comics of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Gertrude Stein. Finally hooking with with their bird pal James Joyce to pull a robbery.


    Jason's Left Bank Gang

    not much


the first five, 1-5
the second five, 6-10
the third five, 11-15
the fourth five, 16-20
the fifth five, 21-25
the sixth five, 26-30
the seventh five, 31-35
the eighth five, 36-40
the ninth five, 41-45
the tenth five, 46-50
the eleventh five, 51-55
the twelfth five, 56-60
the thirteenth five, 61-65
the fourteenth five, 61-65