What I learned this week, June 10, 2022

Book With Wings Anselm Kiefer Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

20 Short Novels To Stay Up All Night Reading

Unputdownable books you can finish in bed tonight

Car fire just north of downtown, Dallas.

Rand Paul warns of ‘double digit’ interest rates, recession, and joblessness.

I am old enough to remember the early 1980’s – with 20% interest rates, hyperinflation, and terrible joblessness. It wasn’t fun. It feels like that right now.

The historic Renner School House, in Dallas Heritage Village, with the skyscrapers of downtown rearing up in the background.

$1,500 inflation relief payments for staff, 4% tuition increase for students at this university.

For the last couple of decades – higher education has been the biggest scam in history and it’s not getting any better.

LBJ Freeway and TI Boulevard, Dallas, Texas

Famed economist Robert Shiller sees ‘good chance’ of recession.

I am old enough to remember the early 1980’s – with 20% interest rates, hyperinflation, and terrible joblessness. It wasn’t fun. It feels like that right now.

Green and Red Sriracha

Sriracha maker warns of ‘unprecedented shortage’ due to supply issues. “

“Therefore, all orders submitted on or after April 19, 2022, will be scheduled AFTER Labor Day (September 6, 2022) in the order it was received.”

Even Sriracha… really?

Carol Roth on Twitter: “We are 100% in the position we are now because too many people believed you could suck the rainbow farts out of unicorns’ asses instead of reality.”

Epic twitter thread.

Biden is “Scared” Ukraine May Win, Analyst Asserts

Simon Tisdall claims that this fear is already condemning Ukraine to one of the ‘forever wars’ that, on the campaign trail in 2020, the American president pledged to end.

A Month of Short Stories 2014, Day 17 – Black Box

A year ago, for the month of June, I wrote about an online short story each day for the month. It seemed like a good idea at the time. My blog readership fell precipitously and nobody seemed to give a damn about what I was doing – which was a surprising amount of work.

Because of this result, I’m going to do it again this year.

Today’s story, for day seventeen – Black Box, by Jennifer Egan
Read it online here:

The Tweets that comprise the story Black Box collected at Paste Magazine

I’ve been a fan of Jennifer Egan ever since reading (and writing about) A Visit From the Goon Squad. I had avoided that book because I didn’t like the look of the title, but once I dove in I loved the idea of interconnected short, short stories. The stories are arranged in a web across time, space, and a diverse group of characters. Fun.

The sort of thing I would like to do.

I have never been a big fan of Twitter. I send out notices of my journal entries and I use it to locate food trucks and things to do – or web sites to visit. I don’t like the fact that so many celebrities and, especially, politicians use it almost exclusively to send out their thoughts and ideas.

140 characters is simply not enough for the complexity and subtlety of the human condition. Mass communication using Twitter is laziness.

A couple years ago these two things came together. Jennifer Egan wrote a short story and sent it out, 140 characters at a time, over Twitter. it ran over ten nights on the New Yorker‘s NYerFiction account. Now, that’s interesting.

Especially when I looked into it and saw how much work she put into the project. It took her a year to write the piece – writing it out in longhand in Japanese notebooks printed with little boxes.

Jennifer Egan's handwritten version of the Twitter Short Story "Black Box."

Jennifer Egan’s handwritten version of the Twitter Short Story “Black Box.”

It’s a hypermodern spy story – chopped up with high tech gadgetry, a bevy of beauties, and a luxurious terrorist hideout.

I’m not sure if this experiment is an unqualified success. I wish I could have read it on its original ten-night airing – all those tweets in one sitting is a bit much. Still, it’s pretty cool and I’d like to consider how to break up a story into such tiny bites.

Here’s some more ordinary fiction from Jennifer Egan – if you like:


Ask Me If I Care

The opening of Jennifer Egan's Twitter Short Story "Black Box."

The opening of Jennifer Egan’s Twitter Short Story “Black Box.”