Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Russian Traffic Cop Claims Himself The Second Coming and Commands His Followers to Keep Vegan

Found this article via Newser.

"His followers, who have given up their lives to follow him, are strict vegans and are banned from smoking and drinking or handling money."

"Around 300 of them live in wooden huts in the village that has grown up around his church and which does not appear on any maps."

I'm going to say this: veganism doesn't need any more bad PR. I think there's been enough to keep us vegans looked at askance for at least the next two decades. PETA has handed out its share of pictures of scalped sheep and debased women, we've had McDonald's blown up on our behalf, plenty of liberal arts graduates have had vegan roommates they ended up quietly resenting--all and all, I think we look maniacal enough for a group of people who are just trying to leave animals alone.

And now we've got Jesusmania on our team.

I'm also going to say this, though: a sad and desperate part of me wants to join him. Never having to deal with money ever again? Living in a quiet little hut in Siberia? Which I'd build myself, giving me something concrete and ultimately rewarding to do, something directly and not just implicitly tied to my survival? Of course, it would mean never touching another glass of bourbon, but at least I would know what I was doing with myself.

Okay, I don't really want to live in Siberia. What I really want right now is bourbon.

I don't have any though.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sean Lovelace

Rose Metal Press has just published a chapbook of short short stories by Sean Lovelace called How Some People Like Their Eggs, the winner of their third annual short short chapbook contest.

I helped proofread this book and really liked it then, and now that I have it in a fashionable-looking font inside of pale yellow cardstock I like it even more. I am now going to get mushy and probably a little pretentious about it:

Sean Lovelace writes in a brisk, dry style, describing sequences of events that aren't entirely surreal and aren't entirely lifelike, which is to say that they occupy as fully as possible the world of the human mind. The wryness of his voice sometimes gave me the feeling of reading from Raymond Carver's shroom log.

The book consists mostly of first-person narratives that move and turn a little like James Tate's more fun poems, but one story, for example, is a series of diary entries from an aging Charlie Brown, each of which begins, "I wake, and hear the birds coughing."

"Meteorite," the story about 'meeting with a friend who's dying of cancer and eating bad bar food with her while feeling a little concerned about destiny' that opens the book, seems like the best, but my favorite was probably either "I Love Bocce," a story about 'a medical student mourning an unrequited crush and cathecting the sport of bocce,' or "Molasses," a story about [spoiler alert] 'feeling less motivated and responsible than one's girlfriend and starting to mow the lawn and then talking with the girl who walks through the lake selling junk from a tire on a rope and learning that one's favorite molasses store has gone out of business because of a syrup superstore opening up nearby.'

Generally speaking, Sean Lovelace's stories are hard to sum up; I feel that they are very complete and good.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I'm in West Palm Beach for the National Poetry Slam

West Palm Beach is like the inside of a gigantic mouth. Our hotel is an ice cube on its tongue. The other buildings are the teeth. The person whose mouth this is flosses too much but still has bad breath, possibly from drinking too much.

Connor's been carrying around his huge bottle of Tullamore Dew. I wrestled two of my best friends last night for no reason. This is the least depressed I have been all summer.