National Bestseller
Saturday, May 12, 2007

    Why Opie and Anthony made me drop XM

    I grow increasingly uncomfortable in the cultural environment Americans live in. My watermark this week: Opie and Anthony's XM radio show. In the post-Imus wake, these guys let a "homeless character"go on and on about his hatred of a variety of ethnicities as well as his desire to violate several national (mostly conservative) women. Most notably, Condoleezza Rice.

    I'm all for free speech, but I was so disturbed by the XM O and A show that I dropped my subscription. Why?

    It's not the language so much as the fact that the on-air radio hosts let these comments go by -- even laughed -- instead of doing the mature thing and cutting off the mic. You see, since the hosts didn't directly impart their view, this is not about free speech. It's about the responsibility of the freedom of the press. That freedom requires restraint, responsibility and, perhaps, maturity.

    No one would question if a radio host came out "pro-rape" -- they could present those views and then live with the consequences. What is so deplorable is that these jokers are responsible for the content of their show. Inviting guests to use their microphone to spew out any viewpoint without challenging them, engaging them, or offering commentary is the issue here.

    So, I wrote XM a curt letter. As long as Opie and Anthony are on, I'm off.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

    Great art, on iTunes

    I took about seven years off watching television -- seriously, NetFlix only. I spent much of my childhood watching between three to four hours a day. Junkie, might be an appropriate word.

    This year, I've started watching again... mostly thanks to "Lost" and "Grey's Anatomy." The former I've caught up with via DVDs; the later I bought an iTunes pass that I almost never use because Thursday nights at 9pm have become a permanent fixture in the house.

    But that's not what I'm posting about.

    I was stunned to download a free pilot to "Friday Night Lights" and, being stuck traveling this week, happened to watch it.

    The show is a stunner. It is certainly the best television show I've seen in years, perhaps ever. It strikes me that what is happening to network tv is akin to the publishing movement: overall, the general level of quality has dropped, but it's averaging out between complete vapidity -- e.g. 1 vs. 100 or Two and Half Men -- or works of near art: Fright Night Lights, Lost, Grey's or even the comic genius of My Name is Earl or The Office. All of these are shot like film: looser, less constrained, more visionary and without the punchy trappings of one-liners and flat characters.

    Television is dead; long live television.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

    Save the date: Jan 29, 2007

    I'll be giving a talk entitled, "How to Con Your Way into Print," this Monday, January 29, 2007 at the Somerville Public Library. It's part of the Somerville Arts Council Fellowship community service project.

    Hope to see you at 7pm.

Monday, December 11, 2006


    My wife and I are lying in bed, discussing what to do with our two children. She's thinking of homeschooling, mostly based on the fact that while there are many books about how great homeschooling is, there are exactly zero books on how good public school is.

    For the record, I went to parochial school until 5th grade; public school was a relief.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

    A Non-Violent Kind of Rugby

    I invented a non-violent kind of rugby, for my dear friend Judy who hates violence. It's called, "GeoPolitics," and instead of moving a ball back and forth from a field, you're carrying a comb-bound UN Resolution.

    On field, the teams form committees, instead of scrums, and players assault each other with words -- "Are you seriously suggesting the situation in Darfur is anything like turn of the century Armenia?" -- until both sides realize they're on the same team, pass the resolution, and spend the remaining time on the clock issuing research papers.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

    Forklift, Ohio

    The new issue of Forklift, Ohio is out, including a contribution by yours truly. It's likely the last thing you'll see of mine in print for a while. I've been taking time off submitting work.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

    I sadly did not win. Here are those who made the final cut.

See the archives.

Like it? Email: paul[at]

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