The following was written through a Tylenol-induced haze:
I gained entry to the latest installment of The Oblivio Series at the Bowery Poetry Club” href=””>The Oblivio Series at the Bowery Poetry Club this afternoon. Michael Barrish, punctual host and writer of sexual feats and gravitas, gave a fine reading. Paul Ford, influential Web popstar, provided laughs through not-so-distant boarding school stories. And Choire Sicha, Gawker extraordinaire, jilted California in a way that only New Yorkers can.
There was some pleasure gained in hearing others read my own life material out of completely different contexts and backgrounds. These were the common eccentricities of beleaguered, well-read white men. Stories of family trauma, geographic dispersal, mistaken identity, cruelty, and penis jokes were shared themes.
I came home to microwaved manly quiche, Kipper the Dog, and the relief that my daughter was not a boy.
But that’s not the review. I’ve always wanted to write about unique characters with unique characters; thus, this is the actual review:
Barrish: § ‡ ƒ æ Œ ˆ … Î ° ¨ † Ÿ ’ ‰ Æ ø ¬ ± ¥ ´ ˜
Ford: Ÿ ’ ‰ Æ ø § ‡ ƒ Æ ø ¬ ± ¨ † Ÿ ’ ¨ † Ÿ ’ ‰ ç ‘ Ÿ ‰ Æ
Sicha: ± ¨ † Ÿ ’ ‰ ƒ æ Œ ˆ ˜ ¬ ç ‘ ¨ Ø ‹ „ ¿ Æ ø ¬

Crib's Gone

Today I dismantled, packed away, and put away the crib. It was time for it to go. My parents had purchased it for us and we got great use out of it, except for the times when our child would refuse to sleep in it which was about every night.
I have such mixed feelings about it. The crib was beautiful — all stained cherry with large, slatted rails and wheels jutting out from below. The top side panels were flat and cups of milk or juice could be placed there during the night. If they were ever needed, and they were, those flat sides could be counted on in the dark, amidst the crying and the kicking.
But now the crib is gone and in its place is an off-white toddler bed, which looks like it stepped out of the country and into our city apartment. It has little slatted sides and the old, barely used crib mattress fits snugly into the new bed. The new bed is close to the ground, sweet and low.

More War Good News

A new book called Osama’s Revenge: The Next 9/11 by Paul L. Williams will be sitting on bookshelves very soon. In it, Mr. Williams essentially tells us we are doomed to nuclear holocaust by Mr. Bin Laden and that it is only a matter of time that he will unleash the weapons he holds within the U.S. While I’m shaking in my boots as I write this, I am shrewd enough to know that an author seeking to make a good amount of money on a book could do worse than writing about the coming doomsday. Just for good measure, here are more books, most of them very recent, on the lovely subject.
(I realize that I’m one of the few people around that actually worry publicly about these issues and, for the life of me, I know not why.)

Mea Culpa: War on War

I was (very probably) wrong.
Many months ago, I argued in this monologue that war in Iraq, despite its likely ill effects, was relatively worthwhile. I bought the bottom line of the journalists while also questioning the veracity of the administration. It was a thinking-man’s line of poor thought: if the papers and the government say it’s true, it must be pretty true. I was wrong and I’m willing to admit that war in Iraq was built on trumped-up charges of state sponsored terrorism, fear-mongering, and logic based on belief instead of evidence.
Leon Wieseltier writes in this week’s The New Republic a similarly kind of weak-kneed mea culpa. Much of the piece is typically astringent and non-linear journalism but one paragraph, with regard to the murder of children, spoke to me clearly, thoughtfully, and elegantly and I wish it were mine:
Of course one’s own dead mean more than the other’s dead, but the other’s dead cannot mean nothing. The primacy of the obligation to one’s own, the natural solidarity of the same, the love that precedes principle: These fundamental attainments of human association should not be taken to suggest that moral consciousness is essentially tribal. Indeed, the knowledge of our own mystic bonds is what enables us to imagine the mystic bonds of others. Since we are particular in our affections and our affiliations, we can understand particularity of affection and affiliation in general. A general understanding of particularity: That is a fine definition of universalism, and there are no escapes from universalism, except willed ones.