No takers on litquiz 2? Here’s a hint: there’s a wind instrument in the title. While you’re musing on it, here’s a swank music blog, Freeway Jam, for the rocker in you. This one’s nice for all you worldly jazzophiles.

the anti-hero on basketball

It was not as patriotic as baseball, but it seemed to make a lot more sense. Basketball consisted of throwing the large inflated ball through a metal hoop horizontally fastened to a wooden backboard hung vertically high above their heads. The team that threw the ball through the hoop more often was the team that won. All the team won, though, was the same old thrill of winning, and that didn’t make so much sense. Playing basketball made a lot more sense than playing baseball, because throwing the ball through the hoop was not quite as indecorous as running around a bunch of bases and required much less teamwork.

This little bit of sports commentary comes from a “lost” chapter of Catch 22 which did not make it into the book when it was originally published in 1961. The chapter was later published in Playboy, circa 1987, under the title “Yossarian Survives.” In a note he wrote to accompany the Playboy publication, Joseph Heller said that a couple of U.S. Air Force Academy officers contacted him around the time of Catch 22’s 25th anniversary to ask why he had omitted the chapter. “My reactions of surprise were contradictory,” Heller wrote. “I had forgotten I had written in; I was positive I had left it in. ‘Do you mean it’s not there?’ I exclaimed!”

A musical side note: Did you know there’s a ska band out of Jersey named Catch 22?


Every now and then, I’ll hear someone’s name and think that it perfectly matches her vocation. Lara Zeises is one of the lucky few whose name is so utterly cool that she perhaps could make it as an indie rocker or a world-famous astrologer on the strength of her name alone. Instead, she chose to be a writer, and we’re lucky she did, because the result is her recently released third novel Anyone but You. Kirkus praises the “pitch-perfect narration.” This is a book that knows its audience, a teen angst chick spin that’s rowdy enough for grown-ups who are into reading for a good time. And why shouldn’t reading be a good time, people? The tone reminds me of Katia Noyes’s recent debut, Crashing America, which happens to already be gaining a sort of cult following in San Francisco. Here’s a taste of Zeises’s (try saying that ten times, fast) latest:

Jesse helped, giving Layla half the cash he earned jockeying slushies at the Sip-n-Stop down by the Movie King. Me and Critter were supposed to pick up part-time jobs, too, but when Critter failed English (again) and I scored my own F in biology, it was no go. For one thing, summer school started right after the Fourth of July, and no one would hire us for the few weeks we had off before the start of our Loser Kid classes.

will the “anonymous” mr. young please stand up

DEC. 5 postscript: Media Bistro today notes my musing that Robert Clark Young’s stink piece about Sewanee may have to do with his having had a bad experience there. Note this comment left by a reader of From Here to Obscurity on Dec. 2. I certainly believe there is room for rational, healthy debate on what Vice might have done differently when it comes to “Tuscaloosa Knights.” However, Young’s article is an extremely questionable piece of “journalism,” relying in part upon an incorrect quotation from of a piece of Vice’s story from his dissertation, the story that later appeared in the Atlantic Monthly. Vice’s actual sentence in the dissertation is much longer and more detailed than Young’s representation of it, which uses ellipses in order to make the sentence look as though it is plagiarized.

original post: Robert Clark Young wasn’t content to just write a nasty, unfounded article bashing Brad Vice, Richard Bausch, Barry Hannah, Josip Novakovich, the Sewanee Writers Conference, and others. He decided to take it a step further, writing an anonymous email to everyone in Vice’s English department pointing them to the article. When one of the faculty members there responded to Young, saying that he sounded like a disgruntled student, Young’s uninspired and vindictive response was that she was “sucking literary cock.”

Since Young is so intent on having everyone read Vice’s dissertation, note that Vice has an epigraph from Carl Carmer on page 144 of the dissertation. It’s also worth mentioning this, which Vice wrote to me in an email: “Mike Curtis at the Atlantic Monthly was fully aware of Jim Dent’s Junction Boys when he edited Report from Junction.”

good piece on from here to obscurity

Hayden on From Here to Obscurity doesn’t mince words when it comes to Robert Clark Young’s bizarro display of bad vibes and irresponsible reporting in the New York Press a couple of days ago. One reader commented about a terrible licking Young took in Barry Hannah’s Sewanee workshop several years ago, which would explain his tirade against the conference.