Thursday, August 30, 2001

The Unfinished Revolutionary
Michael Dertouzos, director of MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science and author of "What Will Be" died Monday. RIP, Michael Dertouzos.

Wednesday, August 29, 2001

The Return of Factsheet 5
From Tom Wheeler: "After a three-year hiatus, Factsheet 5 is coming back! A new editorial collective has taken over and we hope to have the first issue out by the end of the year.

"Factsheet 5 is an authoritative guide to zines and alternative publications. Each large issue will be packed with hundreds of reviews of independent and unusual publications. Every issue of Factsheet 5 will catalog and review an abundance of zines complete with price, critical reviews, and ordering information. Additionally, it will include informative articles on zine culture, independent publishing, lively columns, interviews with self-publishers, and an extensive news section.


"We will review zines and alternative/independent publications. We suggest you enclose a separate card clearly stating the sample price and subscription price. Also print the ordering address, email address/web site, the check endorsement name, and if you regularly review zines, books, videos, comics, or records. You can also tell us if you want submissions, if you require an age statement, if you regularly print reader letters, if you offer free prisoner subs, and the page count for that issue. Some people love trading, while others are more selective or don‚t want to be bothered at all by unsolicited trades. Feel free to state your preference on the card.


"Besides zines and independent publications, F5 will also review books, music and videos. Preference will be given to DIY/independent projects, although books from major publishers and music from major labels will not be automatically excluded. Music of all styles welcome!


"Factsheet 5
PO Box 4660
Arlington, VA 22204


"Factsheet 5 will publish quarterly (4 times/year). Although the magazine has been on haitus for three years, all current active subscribers will have their subs honored and fulfilled. The cover price for the magazine will be $4.95. Single copy sample will be $5.00 by mail. A one-year subscription (4 issues) is $15.00 ($25.00 for first-class delivery)."
Big Brother Is Watching III
Thanks to the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center, I just learned about the Surveillance Camera Players. While I've heard about people staging street theater in full view of video monitors, I wasn't aware that there was such an organized network. The SCP's site includes a wide range of street theater and protest resources, including the group's founding documents, video clips, and a 10-step how to. Take to the streets -- and take the stage!
Chip of the Old Blockhead
From the Washington Post: "Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Germany have electronically linked multiple snail neurons onto transistor chips and demonstrated that the cells communicate with each other and with the chips. Biophysicist Peter Fromherz says: "It's very primitive, but it's the first time that a neural network was directly interfaced with a silicon chip. It's a proof-of-principle experiment." The combination of biology and technology eventually may lead to such things as artificial retinas or prosthetic limbs that are extensions of the human nervous system, and the development of robots possessing far more intelligence than the current generation of such machines." -- thanks to David Farber

Tuesday, August 28, 2001

Provocative Art Panel II
Stayed in last night during the rain -- skipping the Spitzz show at Charlie's -- to work out what my 10 minutes at Harvard tonight would cover. Here's what I came up with. Comments? Email me.

"Hi. My name is Heath. I work as a community organizer for a business magazine called Fast Company. On the side, since 1988, I've tracked developments in grassroots media by reviewing undrground newspapers, zines, minicomics, homemade cassettes -- even pornography.

"In the zine world, reviewers play a dual role: that of traditional critics, a la the folks who write for the New York Times Book Review, and that of documentarians, perhaps the only people to catalog and comment on some of the most esoteric ephemera ever published.

"In 1994, when I was 20 and living in Chicago, I found myself just off center of one of the most storied obscenity cases involving grassroots media since the '60s.

"After receiving an order in the mail, a long-haired kid named Mike Diana sold a copy of his photocopied comic Boiled Angel to a cop in Pinellas County, Florida, one of the most conservative counties in the sunshine state.

"Boiled Angel -- and the issue Diana mailed to the cop, #ATE, the only copy sent to someone in Florida -- wasn't pretty. Diana's comics depicted flying skulls, amputated infants, priests raping children, blood, feces, and other bodily fluids.

"The cop and Pinellas County took offense. And their response wasn't pretty either. Because of that slim, hand-drawn pamphlet probably with a print run in the double digits, Diana was charged with obscenity. And I found myself publishing daily courtroom reports on the Web.

"Obscenity is a funny law. Sure, there's the bit about prurient interest: Will this turn you on? You'd have to be pretty creepy legally to get off on Boiled Angel. But there's also the bit on local standards, and Pinellas County's standards were pretty local.

"Diana was found guilty. He was charged with thousands of dollars in fines. He was required to perform almost 1,300 hours of community service. And he was ordered to not draw. He appealed with the help of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and failed in 1997, three long years later. Then he moved to New York City to become an exotic dancer.

"Earlier this year, Diana was part of the Angry White Male tour, a Jim Rose Circus Sideshow-like extravaganza featuring artists, musicians, and writers such as Jim Goad, who edited the controversial zine Answer Me! Diana's resting on his artistic laurels -- by law -- and reveling in the controversy surrounding him.

"Diana's response is not unlike that of another New York City-based cartoonist, Danny Hellman. Sued in 1999 for libel by editorial cartoonist Ted Rall, whose work appears in daily newspapers as well as the punk fanzine Maximum Rocknroll, Hellman has been targeted because of a series of parody emails sent to 30 people. The emails aped Rall and poked fun at an article he wrote about Art Spiegelman for the Village Voice. Hellman's not hiding either.

"Instead, Hellman has surrounded himself with comics celebrities such as Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, and Gary Panter -- as well as Diana himself and notable self-publishers like James Kochalka, Ron Rege Jr., and P. Shaw! -- to publish this book: Legal Action Comics.

"These two cases raise some interesting questions:
  • As shocking and parodic as Diana and Hellman's work might be, did they intend to provoke the paper tigers they were poking? Why did Diana produce and distribute work that was so clearly disturbing? Does his commentary on the state of religion or childcare outweigh the shocking nature of his work? And in Hellman’s case, why assume Rall’s persona and run a fake mailing list to poke fun of Rall’s attack on Spiegelman?
  • Would anybody really know -- or care -- about them if they hadn't been sued for obscenity and libel? Has the value and importance of their artwork been elevated because of its attachment to the legal proceedings? Does art challenged legally somehow become better art? Think Banned Book Week: Are all these books good books?
  • What do relatively high-profile cases like these mean for the rest of the zine, comics, and arts worlds? Is Mike Hunt, the Malcolm McLaren of mail order, merely profiting off of Diana’s notoriety? Or is he a viable patron? Are the artists supporting Hellman doing so to defend freedom of speech or to draw political lines of support in the comics community? What side are you on: Rall or Hellman? What does that say about your work?
  • If all the mainstream public knows about grassroots media is undead sex, cannibalism, and bloody stools, how can it be taken seriously as an alternative to the mainstream? Why defend and support questionable work like this when it might only denigrate the state of the artform and media? What role does the comics community play in casting a more accurate picture of the state of the medium?

  • "I don't know. But I do know this: Just as I covered Diana's '94 trial online, I'm going to keep an eye on the $1.5 million Hellman/Rall libel case. And I'm going to continue reviewing zines and minicomics -- not just to capture potentially lost media history, but to encourage zinemakers to pursue quality work in order to rise up as a viable challenge to what we find on the newsstands at CVS. That might mean eschewing flying skulls and semen.

    "My name is Heath. Thanks."

  • Mike Diana Says Good Morning America!
  • The Mike Diana Censorship Debacle
  • Roc Talks with Mike Diana
  • Mike Diana
  • I Was a Teenage Boiled Angel
  • Portrait of the Artist as a Wanted Man
  • A True Tale of Internet Terror

  • Special thanks to Paul Hanna and Sarah Pikcilingis for their help.
    Big Brother Is Watching II
    Bookstore chain Borders Group Inc. has temporarily suspended a trial plan to implement FaceIt face recognition software in two stores in London, pending a review of legal and human rights issues. Computerworld has the full story.

    Monday, August 27, 2001

    Mixed Drinks and Mingling III
    A bunch of Boston-area hangers on active in Warren Ellis' discussion forum congregates frequently for what are called "drink up"'s. There was one Saturday night. Photos were taken. I'm the recently-shorn fellow wearing the yellow Enjoi panda T-shirt.
    Provocative Art Panel
    Oh, I so wanted to refer to Franklin Bruno's song "Panel," but I couldn't track down the lyrics. However, tomorrow night you'll be able to track me down at Harvard University, where I will be sitting in on a panel discussion focusing on provocative and controversial art as part of Harvard's Freshmen Arts Program. Other panelists include Sarah Hutt, director of technical assistance for visual art from the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs. I'll be weighing in on the work -- and court experiences -- of Mike Diana, whose Boiled Angel comic came under fire in an obscenity case in Florida and who now is legally limited in what he can draw and publish. During the 1994 court case, I ran a Web site that documented the proceedings. My interest in the case -- and Diana's work -- is rooted in the balance between freedom of speech and art of questionable merit that is elevated because of controversy... perhaps at the expense of the overall arts community. There are some interesting parallels between Diana's experiences and those of Danny Hellman, who's now involved in a libel case with Ted Rall. Should be an interesting evening.
    Rock 'n' Read!
    Read a great novel over the course of two days this weekend. Andrew K. Stone's "All Flowers Die" is a deep and slightly dark novel about two friends who grow up together in the Boston rock scene of the '80s. Starting off in the same band -- their first -- together, one goes on to become a writer... and the other's lifeline. Because the other becomes a rock star. While the sex and subtance use portrayed in the book is slightly stereotypical, the book is an insightful look at friendship, early childhood memories, the choices people make, and how the consequences of their actions can affect them -- and those close to them. The book's chock full of Boston landmarks -- and Boston rock landmarks -- which makes the book an extremely fun local read. Read Pagan Kennedy's "The Exes" back to back with this. You won't be sorry.
    Big Brother is Watching
    A couple of interesting items about surveillance were transmitted over David Farber's Interesting People list recently. One notice details a New York federal court case in which the judge ordered a cable company to provide federal investigators details about one of its Internet subscribers without informing the subscriber. Then there's an item about Borders using high-tech surveillance equipment to spy on their customers. Word is that the company is to become the first retailer in the world to introduce a security scheme, normally used to trap football hooligans, pedophiles and terrorists, to photograph customers as they enter Borders book stores. SmartFace -- known as FaceIt in the USA -- keeps a database of "unique digital face-maps'" that will check customers' pictures against those of known shoplifters. So keep your head down as you walk through the revolving doors.

    Friday, August 24, 2001

    See You in the Funny Pages
    Jason Little's been serializing his most recent comics work on his Web site since last July. "Shutterbug Follies" tells the tale of a young female photo developer who stumbles across a series of mysterious negatives and enlists the aid of several friends, including a cab driver, to crack the case. There are more than 30 episodes online right now, and it's a fun read. Don't wait for Jason's Doubleday book to come out next fall. Start following Bee's adventures today! You can also read "Shutterbug Follies" in the New York Press every week.

    Thursday, August 23, 2001

    From the In Box: What the Hell? IV
    I just came across the letters you sent to the American Journal of Print. Funny, because after the journal-release party in May, I sent an extensive e-mail to Scott Korb saying, in essence, the exact same thing: I like the content generally, it's great to see the journal, you've gotta watch the blatant McSweeney's idolatry. You should have seen the press release advertising the event -- or for that matter, the event itself, featuring a high-school gospel choir. Which was good, actually.

    The reading in May was cool. Readings are almost never cool, with the exception of (you guessed it) the McSweeney's readings. This AJoP reading, in addition to the aforementioned high school choir (a little too "Is this meant to be ironic or is it earnest?" chin-scratcher-y to me), took place in a dark bar that usually hosts avant garde music, and the agglomeration of pieces read felt sorta like a "This American Life" sans the soapy Sarah Vowell-esque "This is what America is really like," feeling. They had bands. It seemed improvised (mainly because they forgot I was supposed to read, and they shoehorned me back in at the last minute).

    And it was interesting to be seen as a link in a great literary chain, though I have never met Eggers (I have been to three or four of his events, though, and I randomly ran into Sara Stewart at one of them. ... She works for Razorfish (well, "worked," probably) and blew me off when I told her that I was surprised Neal Pollack turned out so un-twerpy-looking, considering how he looked when he was a Daily columnist).

    I was wondering who would come across the AJoP. That answers that.
    -- Jeremy Simon

    I didn't know "agglomeration" was a word. Now I do. Thanks, Jeremy.
    From the In Box: From the Reading Pile
    Thank you muchly for the review [of Comb-Over #2]. It's great to get positive feedback, especially when it's someone you don't know. I mean, there's only so many times I can hear my mom say the comic is funny before the words lose all meaning. ... We are currently awaiting word from the Xeric Foundation, from whom we applied for a grant. Whether or not we get it, #3 will hopefully be out by the late fall (i.e. October/November). -- Dave Bryson

    Wednesday, August 22, 2001

    Fish Are Funny
    Courtesy of David Mankins, a fish joke from Japan:
    "Sakanaya no ojisan ga odoro ita."

    "The old fish monger was surprised."
    "Just kidding."

    "Gyo" is the sound that they use for being surprised in manga; it's also a way of reading the character for "fish" in Japanese. Maybe that's why fish always look surprised.
    From the In Box: What the Hell? III
    I saw your Web site last week during the American Journal of Print brouhaha. The one thing, though, that I have to contest is your description of my "David Eggers fetish." I think that once you read more of the Log you'll understand that although I'm interested in The Dave's rise to fame, I'm not by any means running some sort of continuing fanzine-type of column. I could have used any sort of recent "hot" thing to chart the rise of a pop culture phenomenon. I just chose him because I found him fascinating at the time. -- Gary Baum

    Fair enough. So eggers is less of a fetish and more of a totem for your wider interests? I was certainly struck by the preponderance of Eggers references -- and mentions of his compatriots.

    I'm looking forward for more from MM -- brilliant stuff, Gary. You should be proud.

    Thanks for the kind words. MM's on a semi-hiatus for the next six weeks or so, though, since I've just moved into college (the University of Southern California) and now have some new priorities, like the school paper.

    Tuesday, August 21, 2001

    What the Hell? III
    Thanks to my friends at Cardhouse, the following just came to my attention: Gary Baum's blog My Manifesto is a Sam Pratt-inspired look at media. In its entries, Gary spends no little time exploring his David Eggers fetish. Gary communicates with Eggers groupies, receives hate mail -- or at least spite mail -- from the effervescent Karl Wenclas, and traces the ripples of Eggers' media wake. Gary hasn't updated the blog since the end of July, but the logs are deep -- digging into February 2000. I'll be poking around for awhile, that's for sure.

    Monday, August 20, 2001

    From the Reading Pile
    Just got word today that most of the zine and comics reviews I contributed to the next edition of Top Shelf were cut. C'est la vie. Here's a handful of reviews of some of the self-published comics and zines that pile on my floor.

    Comb-Over #2: Ed Curran, Dave Bryson, and Joe Keinberger team up for this 40-page comic of darkly humorous one-offs and parodies. In "How to Eat an Ice Cream Cone," Bryson turns a seemingly harmless how-to into an Ivan Brunetti-styled gag strip. Curran shares a malicious-minded of roommate life in "Toe Skin Crunch." But it's Keinberger whose offerings -- "Eddie the Pill," "Windy Day," and "Stuart" -- make the mini worthwhile. While the first three-page opener is an extended play on words, the 11-page "Windy Day" is an impressive Ralph Steadman-meets-Robert Lewis assortment of one-page vignettes showing what might happen on a windy day in March. "Stuart," then, is a quick bit of petty power play that caps the issue on a bittersweet note. I'll look forward to more from Keinberger and Bryson in the future! Available from Dave Bryson, 19 Taft St. #1, Dorchester, MA 02125.

    Lowbrow Reader of Basement Brow Comedy #1: Published by someone who's a music writer for Time Out New York and a friend of Camden Joy or Mark Lerner -- guessing from the ad for Camden's upcoming Highwater Books novels -- the Lowbrow Reader belongs on the zine racks of comic shops for one reason only. It's not the Johann Sebastian Bach-tweaking sheet music-styled "Quartet for Three Strings and a Talking Jew," (although that's quite clever) and it's not for the rest of the 32-page zine's humor pieces on Billy Madison, the Three Stooges, Howard Stern, or Will Ferrell's portrayals of George Bush on Saturday Night Live. No, it's for Neil Michael Hagerty's eight-page treatise on CAR-toons Magazine, a now-defunct Mad-like satire periodical that focused on hot rod culture. Hagerty's feature is quite similar to a piece Highwater's own Tom Devlin wanted to do for the SPX annual for several years, and it's an important piece of comics ephemera history. Hagerty looks at CAR-toons mission, style, contributors, and content, concentrating on an issue from late 1964 -- well in the magazine's hey day (it wasted away until 1991). In so doing, he addresses CAR-toons relationship to other enthusiast parody magazines of the day, Von Dutch's legacy, and the magazine's role as a gateway to the wider fandom of hot rods. May each issue of the Lowbrow Reader contain such gems, and may Bach burn rubber in his grave. Available from Jay Ruttenberg, 243 W. 15th St. #3RW, New York City, NY 10011 USA.

    Low Jinx #3: Riffing off of Matt Feazell's Understanding Minicomics and Coober Skeber #2, Kurt Wolfgang's stellar 100-page self-published anthology pinches, pokes, and prods the sacred cows of independent comics. Edward Gorey meets Dr. Seuss. Dean Haspiel's Billy Dogma tries to pimp his girlfriend. The Maus cast smuggles drugs. Sam Henderson gets dissed. Ron Rege, Jr., gets tweaked. Jordan Crane tackles Chris Ware with a brilliant 10-page send up of Ware's multi-threaded process-oriented narrative style. John Porcellino's King Cat takes Johnny Ryan to meet the Fort Thunder gang, to visit the Million Year Picnic -- and to save his comics bacon. And Jef Czekaj pinches Brian Ralph's cheeks with a 12-page critique of Ralph's plotting, character development, and dialogue. While it's not always clear who's making fun of whom, Tony Consiglio, Eric Reynolds, Jessie Reklaw, Crane, Czekaj, Henderson, Wolfgang, and the rest of the gang take friendly and funny jabs at some of comics' greatest. Available from Wolfgang at Noe-Fie Monomedia, 14 Allen Pl., Canton, CT 06019.
    What the Hell? II
    Following my exchange with American Journal of Print co-conspirators Ryan Purdy and Scott Korb, they also published portions of our correspondence on their site. Touche! In addition to our emails, there's some Media News commentary by one Richard Braun, who had the same suspicions and contributed valuable additional information. Like that Eggers moved to San Francisco months ago. And that the AJoP site also features meta-tags naming other McSweeney's contributors and fascinations -- sure to attract other McSweeney's fans.
    Dot-Bomb Exhibitionists
    With the recent demise of the Industry Standard, it's slightly en vogue to look forward with caution while celebrating what once was during the Net economy's gilded age. (Insert sigh here.) One venue that's perfect for such celebrations and reminiscences is the Museum of E-Failure, an online exhibit of ghost sites: "an attempt to actively preserve the home pages of sites that will probably disappear in the next few months." Curator Steve Baldwin's even been there and done that; he started collecting dead Web sites six years ago while he was working for the now-defunct Time-Warner portal project, Pathfinder.

    Thursday, August 16, 2001

    Do Not Emulate Me
    I haven't eaten anything in about 24 hours.
    A Lemonhead Drops in
    Star sighting! During band practice last night, Evan Dando walked into our practice space at the Sound Museum. Then, at the Operators show at the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain, Evan Dando took the stage for an impromptu set at the end. The Anchormen rushed the stage just after for a quick two songs. I might have even used the same microphone as Evan Dando. That's pretty cool.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2001

    From the In Box: What the Hell? II
    Of course, we were/are a little worried about similarities -- it's hard doing something like this under the shadow of McSwys, especially b/c Korb and I are fans, and acquainted with some of them. And design-wise McSwys is tough to break away from if you're using Quark in your bedroom and have no money for other fancy bits, not to mention the pervasiveness of their design
    ethic (at least Vols. 1 - 3)in today's day and age.

    But your pointing out the similarities served to get us in gear as to really defining ourselves, both on-line and otherwise. As is often the case with such things, we're trying to improve upon the last one, both in content and look, and it should be interesting to see what we come up with for the next one, due in September, we think.

    Again, thanks for reading and noticing Heath, and I (and Korb) look forward to chatting with you in the future -- we're probably going to have a reading in Boston in September...

    Take care, and thanks for your support.
    -- Ryan Purdy
    From the In Box: What the Hell?
    We were informed today of our mention on this Web site, and the attention we have received because of certain similarities to Eggers's journal and Web site, McSweeney's. We, Scott Korb and Ryan Purdy, are the editors of the AJoP, and we would love to clear up some things.

    We aren't affiliated with the McSweeney's gang, although we are friends with some of them, either through coincidence or otherwise. Many of our contributors' works have appeared either in their journal or online, and we have met some of them through McSweeney's infamous events. As far as we can tell, that's where the connections end. (We may be wrong.)

    As sometimes gets spoken about, there is here in New York quite a pool of writers, many of whom happen to operate in the same circles, and many of whom support each other's work. Without trying to sound too conspicuously humble, we are simply one of the several outgrowths of this "community," others including (and its print version) and the Americana reading series.

    About a year ago we started talking about publishing a quarterly journal (We should also credit Amie Barrodale with being there at the beginning). Having the wherewithal to do so may have been prompted in part by Eggers making this not seem an impossible task. After figuring some things out, we chose to try and focus on things that appear infrequently in other publications, namely, people's private fascinations and other such esoteric nonfiction topics. Hence the AJoP: One has articles on pneumatic tubes in New York City, Scrabble tournaments, and the Giant Squid. We also realized that we knew a number of good fiction writers, and expanded the scope of the journal. It has proven successful and, more importantly, amazingly fun and interesting to collect and edit all of these pieces by such great authors, and publish them however we can.

    As for our Web site's design, well. As with many similar endeavors, we were itching to take advantage of the visibility that a Web site would provide. Working with our Web designer and editor, Teresa Lopez-Castro, we made the site in a few days, actually a few hours, still unsure of what its role would be. Hence, our design is simple, and is, in fact, about to change to reflect our own design ideas. It's actually a little funny that this got noticed, as this is the week we're figuring out what to do next with the site. As for all of those things mentioned in our site's code, that's partially our own naivete: in an effort to make sure people could find us, or our writers and their articles, and being a little ignorant of how search engines work, we decided to include everything that may relate to the AJoP's first print edition.

    Regarding our tone, well, we're not sure what to say about that. If what we've written seems ironic or otherwise, we're not sure that was our intention. After all, we all have our own tones, whatever the influences, and sometimes certain things bleed through more than others. We aren't aiming to be thought of as an ironic (post- or otherwise) humor journal; the Web site aims to complement these ideas we've set for our print version and ourselves.

    Thanks, though, for finding us and caring enough to think about what we're doing. After starting out with a quiet task, it's great to see that others are noticing. The support and recognition is wonderful.

    P.S. The Brooklyn location is a coincidence; in fact, one of us is moving to Queens next month, and the AJoP is moving to a P.O. Box.
    -- Ryan Purdy and Scott Korb

    Tuesday, August 14, 2001

    From the In Box: Sites on the Side of the Road II
    Ramon followed up to that email with a short message saying:

    By the way, what did you mean with "his diary entries are relatively sparse"? I just don't get that one...

    I replied that the recent entries are all really short and mentioned where he was and who he had met -- but not much at all about what he was doing, what the place was like, and what the people were like.

    Turns out that he posts skeletal place-holding entries to keep up to date, but that he later goes back and fleshes out his online diaries. And the full reports are much more satisfying! The entry marked "latest report" in his Online Reports is the most recent full diary entry -- even though it's about a week old. The more recent reports will be fleshed out later.

    I am supposed to keep up with my reports, but my mind is not always cooperating. Also because it takes over 1 hour to write it, upload pictures and check emails. It's sometimes difficult when people want to show me around or don't have Internet. Just to let people know, I give a short update on the last days, while saying that the "full" report will come later. I just edited the reports index and added the NO REPORT YET next to the sparse reports...

    Thanks for the clarification, Ramon!

    Monday, August 13, 2001

    From the In Box: Sites on the Side of the Road
    Just 30 minutes after I emailed Ramon from Let Me Stay for a Day that he'd been name dropped in Media Diet, he emailed me back! My email ended with "How're things?"

    I am doing great, however I must say this is a very exhausting 'job', but it's just the price to pay for it. Thanks for your publication! -- Ramon

    Indeed: It's just the price to pay. Words to live by!
    What the Hell?
    Is the new lit journal The American Journal of Print a shameless knockoff of McSweeney's or what? I mean, the AJoP rips off David Eggers' design sensibility, mimics his and his laidback wit, credits Amy Fusselman -- whose The Pharmacist's Mate Dave published for crissake -- in their thank-you list, and even has the gall to sport a staff that, partially, lives in Brooklyn. My guess is that the town's not big enough for both -- or that David's got his omnipresent paws in this self-publishing dilettante, too. Still, Jeremy Simon's piece on the hard-scrabble world of Scrabble tournaments was excellent, and any article on pneumatic tubes, be they in New York City or not, screams promise. Consider my judgment reserved.
    Sites on the Side of the Road
    As I continue to plan the CoF Roadshow, I'm coming across other examples of people taking their projects and Web sites on the road. Here are some interesting examples:

    Let Me Stay for a Day: Riffing off of Mykel Board's World for Free and the old Crash Network, Ramon left his home in the Netherlands in May 2001 and is traveling the world to visit people who invite him to stay with him. Many of his diary entries are relatively sparse, but so far Ramon's visited people in Denmark, the UK, and Ireland -- all because they answered his call for hosts. An awesome look at how personal travel can be -- and what opening yourself up to people can bring.

    RVGirl: For about nine months now, Eliza Sherman, founder of Cybergrrl and Eviva, has been traveling the United States in an, um, RV, and staying occasionally at KOA Kampgrounds. Eliza's diaries are more robust than Ramon's, concentrating on her personal experiences -- and ample descriptions of the people and places she's encountering. You get much more of a sense of what's it's like to be where Eliza's going. Another good use of the Web to document a road trip.

    Roadtrip Nation: Way back in 1999 there was some talk between Nate, Mike, and I about whether we should all go on the first CoF Roadshow together. It didn't make sense, but we've all kept on doing what we do -- hitting the open road to meet, do, and learn. Now they're taking their show on the road again -- also in September, just like me. While their 2001 site is scant, scant, scant, check out their two and a half month's worth of road reports from 1999. I hope to run into them this fall -- well, not literally, but you know.

    Wednesday, August 08, 2001

    Write the Hand That Feeds II
    A new local business magazine just featured Fast Company in an article that paints a not-so-pretty picture of the state of things. Inside take: Things aren't so bad.

    Thursday, August 02, 2001

    From the In Box: Write the Hand That Feeds
    How about some Media Diet commentary on the G+J departure? (Perhaps that's cutting it close.) -- David Rosenblatt

    An interesting point, Dave. How much should I bring up things from work at Fast Company in Media Diet? When I was doing my old personal zine Karma Lapel, several readers commented on how I hardly ever wrote about what I did at work -- just on the side. I wonder why that is. I mean, I like my work. It's interesting. It's even fun. But my side projects have always been kind of disconnected from my paid work, you know?

    Regardless, to touch on what Dave emailed me about: David Carey, CEO of Gruner + Jahr's Business Innovators Group, quit this week to head back to the New Yorker -- he was their publisher before he came to FC, and now he's their publisher again. A sweet spot if you can get it! There's some basic coverage of the move in the New York Post and the Daily News.
    Food for Thought
    While I was in Nashville, Tennessee, last weekend, my friend Jody took me to a couple of "meat and three" restaurants. They're a traditional southern eatery that specializes in home-cooked meals made up of a piece of meat -- your choice -- and three side dishes. As a vegetarian, I was slightly nervous heading into barbecue country, but I didn't need to be. If you go to a meat and three and order the veggie plate, you get your choice of four side dishes -- sides such as mashed potatoes, turnip greens, corn casserole, red beans and rice, and spiced apples. What wonderful food! If you'd like to have a go at a traditional meat and three, Roadfood has compiled a directory of "memorable local eateries along the highways and backroads of America." You can even search for meat and three's -- yielding finds in Iowa, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky -- even New Hampshire. According to a panel discussion at the Southern Foodways symposium, meat and three's are dying out. This might be the case, but the meat and three's that I visited were quite alive. If you head to Nashville, head to one of the local meat and three's. You won't be sorry.