1. I've read a few good tributes to the late Beat/hippie poet Ira Cohen, a good guy I used to see around the East Village a lot. I did a poetry reading with him at the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus in 2002, but I never knew that Ira Cohen invented the 70s-era headshop art trend known as Mylar painting. (Photo of Ira Cohen from a video by Laki Vazakas).
2. You may have heard the news: e-books are hot. This time around, I'm on the bandwagon. I'll be attending the BookExpo gathering next week in New York City, and I'm sure electronic publishing will be the biggest buzz there. I'm a few days behind schedule with my new Kindle book ... the title and cover will be revealed soon. I'm very happy with the ongoing sales figures for my first Kindle book, Why Ayn Rand Is Wrong (and Why It Matters), and I'm proud that this book has remained in the top 100 Kindle bestsellers in the Politics->Ideology category for the entire month, and was #40 on the list this weekend.
3. I am so glad that Ben Yagoda is advocating that we restore logic to punctuation by placing commas outside quotation marks. I couldn't agree more, and in fact I have always ignored the rules and followed this practice. Maybe this is because, as a software developer, I know you can't mess around with nesting. I consider the popular acceptance of commas outside quotation marks a done deal.
4. Will Ferrell is starring in a movie, Everything Must Go, based on a short story by one of my favorite writers, Raymond Carver.
5. Very cool: ASCII art in 3-D!
6. Woody Allen's list of five favorite books includes two under-appreciated authors, Mezz Mezzrow and S. J. Perelman.
7. Interesting gossip from the literary sun belt: Ken Kesey's widow Faye Kesey has married author Larry McMurtry. I have no idea what the rest of the story is, but there must be a good Meryl Streep movie in this drama.
8. Beautiful Darling is a new film about Warhol-era New York City scenester Candy Darling.
9. Haiku Diem is a Haiku website run by Freeman Ng.
10. Bel Kaufman, author of teaching novel Up the Down Staircase and daughter of Sholem Aleichem, just celebrated her 100th birthday.
11. You know what else is celebrating a 100th birthday? The great New York Public Library, and they're throwing a big festival this weekend.
12. 23 band names inspired by literature.
13. Anis Shavani in Huffington Post: "There are few poets as underappreciated today as Michael McClure".
14. New book: Shift Linguals: Cut-Up Narratives from William S. Burroughs to the Present by Edward S. Robinson. I don't understand why the price for this book is $84 (is that some kind of cut-up?) but it looks pretty good.
15. Oscar Wilde mashed up with Jersey Shore. Works for me.
16. I'm so glad Donald Trump isn't running for President, because now I can like him again. I really do get a kick out of his blunt style, and Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice are good shows. But he sure would have been a terrible President.