1. Jerome David Salinger was born on January 1, 1919 -- ninety years ago today. Charles McGrath offers some new observations about the relationship between J. D. Salinger and his second most enduring character, Seymour Glass, and wonders what might motivate Salinger's ongoing and unyielding pursuit of solitude and silence. I have no answer, but I would compare Salinger on one hand to Beat poet Bob Kaufman (who was similarly obsessed with silence) and on another hand to Kurt Cobain, who like Salinger was dreadfully afraid of being phony.
3. From Sonic nurse to Sonic Youth.
4. Cartoons from the Twilight Zone magazine.
5. Elizabeth Foxwell takes the long view on the publishing industry's growing pains.
6. Goddammit! Will somebody please create an e-book app for the Verizon LG Dare? ScrollMotion and Lexcycle, I'm talking to both of you. Do I have to get a petition going? Believe it or not, people who don't only buy products from Apple sometimes read books too.
7. Happy New Year!
8. But no new year can be truly happy as new battles rage in that murderous clusterfuck, that land of fools known as the Middle East. I think it's incredible that anybody thinks anything good will come from Israel bombing the Gaza Strip. Both sides are motivated by internal politics: the Israel leadership is playing to the February elections, and the Hamas leadership is playing against Fatah in the West Bank. The voices of moderation cannot be heard at times like these. And that's precisely the idea, for both sides.
9. Happy new year anyway. And, congratulations to my brother Gary for winning first place in a poker tournament (the latest in a long string of tournament wins) at Mohegan Sun over the holidays. This reminds me that I really need to play more poker in 2009.