Friday, October 29, 2010

Entropic Journal

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Greed and Growth

Greed alone does not explain the growth imperative. Given constantly-rising labor productivity (i.e. lower labor inputs per unit output), the only way to stave off rising unemployment is to constantly increase consumption. But does it make any sense to blame productivity? Should we castigate CNC lathes and imprison programmable logic controllers? That would make as much sense as flogging gasoline pumps for failing to display prices which are onerous enough to make “people” conserve. Talk about passing the buck!

No, the growth imperative is the inevitable result of a spiritual deficit: we-the-people do not behave like we want to need human labor. Our actions indicate we’d rather employ fossil fuels and motorized machines and computers than employ human sweat, human craftsmanship, and human cogitation. God help us, we don’t even want to employ our own legs to get from “a” to “b” anymore. Why? Because we can get more for less that way. In fact sometimes it seems like we’re all swept up in a rat-race to get something for nothing.

The crisis which grips us today is not (yet) one of insufficient energy and raw-material inputs for “healthy economic growth”. Nor is it (yet) one of insufficient output of material goods for people in “advanced” economies. Our waistlines and landscapes are stark reminders that we already have far more Doritos and Escalades and McMansions than we “need”.

The crisis is rooted in our failure to choose to need one-another. The crisis is rooted in our willingness to “outsource” responsibility for a fundamental human need: to be needed - to labor and create for a purpose beyond ourselves. The fact that most of us expect “government” and/or “the economy” to shoulder this duty – a duty of brotherhood – is proof of our insanity.

We are damned fools to expect corporations or bankers or the educational system or elected leaders (especially those at higher levels) to do anything about this. They are but symptoms which emerge from the disease.

Posted by HanZiBoi at 10:56 AM 0 comments

Monday, August 23, 2010

Transportation Kinetics

The laws of kinetic energy for a hot gas beautifully describe our default behaviors in the complex network of interconnected “pressure vessels” we call our transportation corridors. Small things that move slowly get whacked by big things that move fast. Either the meek learn to get the hell out of the way; or they get with the program, bulk up, and shift into high gear.

It’s really not much more complicated than that. Not unless significant numbers of “molecules” choose to behave as though they are responsible for the impacts of their momentum on other molecules. And if that happens – Whoa! The changes which occur could begin to seem…well, intentional. As though something like intelligence might be at work. We might even see some respect for the little guy. But more on that later.

First, why do so many molecules want to go somewhere else so often in the first place? Why aren’t they happy being where they already are? And why are so many of the places where they want to go located so far apart? Why isn’t “a” next-door to “b” more often?

Well, that’s easy! The more kinetic energy you pump into the system, the further apart things get pushed!! (Duh.) In fact our transportation network here in the USA is a fantastic system for continuously manufacturing “needs” for more – and bigger – and longer – high-pressure pipes. Which, in turn, continuously manufactures “needs” for more energy, more machinery, more development, and more land. It’s quite the positive-feedback loop: great for investors, businesses, units of government, and employment. Tax revenues grow; the DOT and other bureaucracies swell; and politicians buy votes with the pork they deliver to the Highway Lobby. Meanwhile society can avoid balancing current expenditures with current income. You could base a whole damned economy on it. For a while, anyway.

Back to my point. For various reasons, lots of people think there are serious problems with transportation. So let’s consider some of the “solutions” that are being proposed.

(1) The overwhelming majority seem to think the way to solve the problem is to expand the high-pressure pipe network. Well, “think” isn’t really the right word; it’s their default behavior that does the thinking…and the voting. That’s why their default solution is mostly about accommodating more and more big, fast molecules. True, many people SAY they want the small and the slow to have a fair shake, but they don’t really mean it. Momentum speaks louder than words.

(2) Some people – a distinct minority – believe that if enough low-pressure pipes are added to the network, most of the molecules will have a choice as to which pipes they use: high-pressure pipes if they want to be big and fast, or low-pressure pipes if they want to be small and slow.

It’s a nice idea, but there are serious problems with it. Maybe even insurmountable ones, especially if we are at all serious about the “most” having a “choice”. Why? The existing network consists primarily of high-pressure pipes. Even if we focus on areas where molecules tend to congregate, most are places which are richly interconnected with high-pressure pipes but poorly connected with low-pressure ones. Installing new low-pressure pipes parallel to so many existing high-pressure pipes would cost a fortune. Maybe even an empire.

So who would pay for it? If you consider where the big, fast molecules REALLY like to live (exurbia), you will find damn few low-pressure pipes. Why? Avoiding the costs of low-pressure pipes is one big reason why so many big, fast molecules move there! Not only that, but most of these upwardly-mobile molecules spend most of their time “off the reservation”, congesting high-pressure pipes in places where they don’t BEGIN to pay their fair share. The system is already bankrupt, running on IOUs from children who can’t even vote yet.

Then there is the matter of proximity. Fast molecules couldn't care less about destination “a” being close to “b” – ten or twenty miles seem mighty short when you’re really truckin’ down a high-pressure pipe. But pity the slow molecules! Even if there is a low-pressure pipe running parallel to a high-pressure one (so the slow guys don’t run the risk getting whacked), the TIME it takes can be a killer. Moving slow, it feels like darn near everything is just too far away.

Last, we must not forget that all parallel pipes eventually have to intersect. And it’s a tough engineering challenge to build these intersections so that the small, slow molecules can safely cross the high-pressure pipes. Especially when you have big, fast molecules who don’t much like being restrained. You know, high momentum dudes who behave as though having to wait for slowpokes is…well…an insult! “Move over, a**hole!!” “Get the f**k out of my road!”

(3) A few people have their fingers crossed that the energy supply for the high-momentum molecules will eventually dwindle; the pressure will go down in the high-pressure pipes; and somehow the system will become more “humane” for small, slow guys. Maybe they are right. Probably they are right. It might take a while, though. And it’s sort of weird, expecting pipes to get “humane”. Like “pipes” caused the problem in the first place! Meanwhile, it’s obvious that the energy supply for the big and fast hasn’t run out yet. So many of the folks who are waiting for the dwindling conclude the best they can do right now is to buckle up themselves and their kids inside a big-ish molecule too. OK, one that’s not-so-big…but not-so-small, either! Then if they get whacked by a really big, fast molecule, it won’t be a guaranteed death sentence.

(4..?) Might there be another possibility – one which doesn’t require huge numbers of additional pipes…or…having to run out of energy? Like, what would happen if millions of molecules…just…began to choose to have less momentum more often? Hmm…maybe when we brush our teeth tonight, we could look in the mirror for clues about how to make it happen.

Posted by HanZiBoi at 4:15 PM 3 comments

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Solution to Jobless Growth

The solution to Jobless Growth is:

Growthless Jobs! Now that wasn't so hard, was it? Reverse the words and Presto! The solution to all of our problems.

Really, it makes sense. Consider what we have right now in our economy. Lots of businessmen (and women) who set out with the explicit intention to sell toasters, cars, corn chips, open-heart surgery – stuff like that. Lots of investors with a laser-beam focus on getting Higher Returns. And darn near every consumer bound and determined to get More Stuff for Less.

Given these intentions, what have we got to show for it? Exactly what one would expect: lots of toaster manufacturing; profits on toaster sales; toasters in our basements, in our attics and storage lockers, on our garage sale tables. More toasters than we need…and unemployed people who have good reason to worry about not being needed.

Hmm…no need for so many toasters…not enough need for people who need to be needed. Could it be that our intentions are the problem? More precisely, a LACK of intent? A BIG lack? A black hole, in fact?

Amidst all our intentions to make and sell and profit on and acquire more toasters than we need (along with more than enough other stuff), where is our intention to need people?

Could this have something to do with passing the buck? OK, we all love to blame Government whenever unemployment rears its ugly head. Business executives with factories run by automated machines don't even blink when they scream bloody murder about how Government is preventing them from creating jobs. Even the candidates play along, making all kinds of promises about the jobs THEY are going to “create”…after (of course!) they blame the opposition party for unemployment...and every other ill in the world.

But what if the whole thing was a ruse, a huge lie we tell ourselves in order to avoid yet another Inconvenient Truth? Forget outsourcing toaster-manufacturing, what happens in an economy when darn near everyone "outsources" responsibility for making sure that people who need to be needed…are needed?

The thing that makes it really tough is this: we can get More Stuff for Less – and Higher Returns to boot! – when we outsource employment to fossil fuels, machines, and automation. Year after year, more Productivity, more “saving” labor. What the heck, who needs other human beings these days?

Oops, we still need them to consume the stuff our machines are making. So…is there some way to make machines that consume? THAT would be sweet! Cars that drive themselves to McDonalds and order high-fructose corn syrup (straight up) from serving-robots. That's right, skip the distillery, skip turning most of the corn into cow-manure (another disposal problem!), we're talking about hyper-mobile, perpetually-hungry consumers that wanna LiveGreen GoYellow, baby.

Ye-ha! Kick back and watch the DOW soar! Who knows, with the ethanol subsidy AND “smart” cars ordering corn syrup for themselves at every drive-thru in America, maybe the corn surplus would take care of itself…

Anyway, is a bit of Luddism in order here? As in, enough to make sure that we need one-another? And how about choosing to need our own labor once in a while? Instead of using our legs mostly to press accelerator and brake pedals, what if we used them more often for (Gasp!) self-locomotion? Getting from “a” to “b”?

I got a lot more to say. You want it?

Posted by HanZiBoi at 4:44 PM 2 comments

The Problem of Jobless Growth

First our Leaders told us there were “Green Shoots”. Then they began to tout the Recovery. More recently they have expressed their regrets that the Recovery appears to be Jobless. And now the Recovery itself is floundering.

This is what Business as Usual delivers in 2010: Jobless Growth - when there is any Growth at all.

Meanwhile we all know about Earth’s biophysical limits – and the terrible messes we’ve gotten into by pretending those limits don’t exist. On this (still-) living, richly interconnected planet, economic Growth IS the problem!

So is this a case of “damned if we do, damned if we don’t”? Maybe not. Ready to think out of the box? I mean, REALLY out?

(Hint: sometimes the solution becomes obvious when you look at a problem from another direction. So if the problem is “Jobless Growth”…)

Give up? OK, the answer is...drum roll...

{see next post}

Posted by HanZiBoi at 4:42 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Spill and You

The following is a transcript of my comments last evening to the trustees of the Village of Oregon, Wisconsin, USA. Perhaps you, dear reader, might find inspiration in it to get up on your hind legs and say something along these lines to your elected public servants...

If anything is clear to me, it is that if we fail to transform the public conversation about responsibility, we will fail period. We will never know whether seeds such as these will bear fruit if we do not plant them.

I am here this evening to speak with you about choosing a relationship to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Not just as individual citizens, but as trustees, as stewards of the public good.

So how might you choose to relate to the spill?

First, you could choose that there isn’t time to discuss the oil spill right now – you already have your hands full with urgent Village business…like budget shortfalls! As someone who has served on the Board, I would respect this choice. I mean that. But please hear me out anyway; I will give you some specific, practical recommendations in a minute or two.

So what else? You could choose that the spill, bad as it is, has nothing to do with us and how we live here. It’s a free country; it’s a free market; and people have a right to burn as much gas as they want.

You could choose that OK, the spill might have something to do with our way of life here, but it isn’t any of your business (or mine!) to tell people how to live. Who wants to rock the boat?

You could choose that if we don’t burn deepwater oil – heck, oil from anywhere else for that matter…well, someone else will. With a fungible commodity like oil, no consumer is responsible.

You could choose that the spill isn’t our fault because we get most of our oil from Canada…where they are clear-cutting forests, strip-mining tar sands, and burning a lot of natural gas to cook out crude. And you’d be right: about 80% of our motor fuel comes from Canadian tar sands right now.

You could choose to react to news of the spill like millions of busy consumers. “OMG those poor pelicans! Did you see John Steward’s spoof about BP last night? It was hilarious! Anyway, they need to nail the jerks who did this…{look at watch}…Oops, gotta go! Have to run my kid to a soccer game in McFarland… Hmm…where the devil are my car keys?”

You could choose that some “they” out there is to blame for the spill…and that “they” had better punish the bad guys…and make “them” clean up the mess…and do a better job enforcing regulations.

You could choose that advanced technology will provide us with all the clean energy we need. Cool! So all we need to do is sit back, wait, and buy an electric car when they are available.

You could choose that we have no choice but to burn gasoline. By God we need it! End of conversation.

You could choose that OK, we do have some choices here in Oregon about how much gasoline we burn…and yes, we should all do our part!...

…but realistically we don’t have that many options, and realistically, the little bit of oil that we use here (or don’t use) can’t possibly make any difference, so…

…really, what we need is a NATIONAL energy policy; we need higher prices to force people to conserve; obviously the President and Congress need to tackle these big issues. The most important thing for us to do is to elect the right candidates…and support the right legislation.

Here is another possibility. You could choose that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has everything to do with how we have chosen to live here. You could choose that a future without such spills – without raping the landscape – without occupations and wars over oil and other resources – without deprivation and misery visiting upon our children – you could choose that all these things have everything to do with how we choose to live here tomorrow.

You could choose that as citizens we have a duty to act. You could choose that as elected officials you will seek possibilities to learn, participate and be inspired; to inform, advocate, and enact.

I promised specifics:

(1) Commit to bringing commuter transit to Oregon. Put the wheels back on the Oregon-Area Public Transit Committee and get it rolling again. Tell trustee {name of the guy who chairs the moribund committe} that you’re on board. Let the Dane County RTA board know that YOU want to help make commuter transit a reality here. Work with the RTA. Attend its meetings if you can; keep abreast of proceedings in any case. The RTA board is looking for members of an Advisory Committee – especially representatives from outside the current RTA boundaries. How about volunteering?

(2) Tell the citizenry you believe that all of us have a duty to walk lightly on Earth. Tell them you want Oregon to be a community where it is NORMAL for us to walk…and roll about in wheelchairs…and ride bicycles…and push strollers…and pull Radio Fliers – and where it is NORMAL for us to share transit. These things work best when we do them together! That is why it is so important to bring transit service here.

(3) Choose to walk and bike when you “don’t have enough time”…when it is too hot, too cold, too wet, too dark. Choose to walk and bike when the streets are plowed but many sidewalks and bike paths are snow-covered and slippery. Choose to push a stroller to the library (or pull some groceries home in a wagon) when the curb-cuts are plowed shut. Roughly a third of your constituents cannot drive, and most don’t have access to 24/7 chauffeur service. Many motorists who could walk and bike are waiting to be led and inspired. More people than you might suspect are afraid to be alone on our sidewalks and streets. They are hoping and waiting for me…and you…to take the first step. You won’t learn the first thing about getting around in Oregon without a car – from the inside of a windshield. Choose to learn.

Posted by HanZiBoi at 10:11 AM 3 comments

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Productivity Plunges

April 1, 2011 New York, NY

A Bloomberg poll of leading US economists found that 79% were “shocked” or “dismayed” by the recently-readjusted Bureau of Labor Statistics data showing that labor productivity in the United States plunged by 13.8% in 2010. Asked how they felt about the corresponding sharp decline in U3 unemployment – from 10.1% to 6.3% - 31% of these economists said improved employment numbers were “welcome”, but 88% considered the correlation (between falling productivity and falling unemployment) “counterintuitive” or “irrelevant”. All agreed that the top priority must be to return to increased productivity and healthy economic growth as rapidly as possible.

In addition to the improved employment situation there were other signs of progress last year. The US trade deficit fell by 18.4% in 2010 as demand for petroleum products and imported consumer goods “fell off a cliff”. Consumption of energy overall, demand for minerals and metals, and purchases of snack food products all showed steep declines, and total vehicle-miles-traveled dropped an astonishing 13.4%. Household debt fell by 15.8% as consumers saved more and spent less.

Climate scientists were delighted to announce that US emissions of greenhouse gasses in 2010 went down by 12.6% - a result which bolsters Stanford University Professor Clausius Carnot’s contention that nuclear and renewable energy sources can provide much larger percentages of US electricity usage when electricity consumption declines. Professor Carnot has generated much controversy – and elicited more than a little scorn from the Wall Street Journal editorial board – for his radical theory that climate change is being driven by “an excess of economic metabolism”.

The good news extends to health as well. “People are happier when they have useful work to do”, noted Dr. Howard Frumkin of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. “Moreover, with the steep reductions in automobile usage and petroleum consumption, more and more people are employing their legs and arms to do physical work. When it becomes normal for people to walk or bike to the grocery store and other nearby destinations, this definitely hurts the auto industry, the oil industry, the roadbuilders, and so on. Hell, it even hurts the health-care industry, because obesity is the primary engine of growth for the medical sector of our economy. So we have this weird situation where the economy is shrinking but people are better off. We’re in uncharted waters.”

But none of America’s most prominent economic thinkers is willing to concede that a mere year’s worth of evidence might disprove long-established economic theory. Thomas Friedman of the New York Times notes, “Everyone knows that the only way to grow the economy is to increase labor productivity – to grow output of goods and services per hour of human labor. And everyone knows that the only way to maintain healthy levels of employment is to increase consumption sufficiently to offset the decreases in employment per unit of output. This is Econ 101, for God’s sake.”

“So even if we presume Earth is flat, how could less employment for fossil fuels and less employment for machines translate into more employment for human beings? This sounds like the ravings of the Luddites; like Marx and his ridiculous ‘crisis of surplus labor’. Well, we are a lot smarter now; smart enough to know that such ideas are pure bunk.”

Posted by HanZiBoi at 11:10 AM 0 comments

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Non-Violent Transportation

Want more Peace on Earth? And more living Earth available for Peace?

Choose Non-Violent Transportation.

Small. Because the Footprints of human feet and bicycle tires are miniscule relative to the Footprints of cars.

Slow. Make wherever you are...the place where you want to be.

Gentle. Living things which might cross your path have a right not merely to not be harmed by you, but to not be afraid of you.

Posted by HanZiBoi at 8:49 PM 2 comments

Older Posts Home

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▼ 2010 (9)

▼ September (1)

Greed and Growth

► August (3)

Transportation Kinetics

The Solution to Jobless Growth

The Problem of Jobless Growth

► July (1)

The Spill and You

► March (2)

Productivity Plunges

Non-Violent Transportation

► February (2)

I Am Scared

Communities That Walk

► 2009 (13)

► November (2)

Not in Kansas Anymore

Willful Ignorance

► October (1)

Manufactured Uselessness

► September (1)

Economic Liberty and Moral Chains

► August (1)

Urban? For What Species?

► May (1)

What's at Stake

► April (2)

Fatal Pace

Sinking In

► March (1)

This is Freedom?

► February (2)

The Secret

End of Consumption

► January (2)

Independence vs Splendid Isolation

Missing the Bottom Line

► 2008 (13)

► December (1)

Rail Efficiencies

► October (1)

On the Spot

► September (1)

New World Order

► July (2)

Technology & Self-Restraint

No Race for Small Footprints

► June (2)

Elephant in the Drop-Off Zone

Election Spin 2008

► May (2)

Habitat Follows Behavior

The Surge

► April (2)

Mow Is Less

Green Car Checklist

► March (2)

Global Warming "Religion"?

Kunstler's Nightmare

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

BusinessNorth Exclusive: Kayaking grows in popularity


by Catherine Conlan

As the summer approaches and temperatures rise, people flock to Lake Superior for cool relief. Increasingly, they’re exploring the big lake on kayaks.

Northland outfitters and retailers don’t have hard numbers, but have observed there’s a steadily rising interest in kayaking.

“Statistics aren’t available, but I can tell you there’s been steady growth,” said Ed Kale, founder of Apostle Island Kayak on Madeline Island. His words were interrupted by a call from Missouri. After telling the customer how to ship a kayak, he confirmed, “It’s getting crazy.”

Larger crafts – sailboats and fishing boats – have always been on Lake Superior, but increasingly, kayak paddlers and kayak beginners are discovering lots to like about the sport. Increased opportunities for people to try it out – such as at festivals or through guided trips – have made kayaking a much more visible and less specialized sport.

“I think the appeal for kayaking is independence,” said Scott Neustel, owner of the Ski Hut in Duluth. “It’s a single craft, kind of like a bicycle. Kayaking is the same way. With canoeing, you always have to find someone else. Kayaking on Lake’s quite an experience. You’re just a small speck on the large body of water.”

Lake Superior offers a wide variety of places to kayak and see the shore in a new way.

“On the North Shore, there aren’t too many places to paddle except the shore itself,” Neustel said. “There are a lot of places with sheer cliffs, and those are interesting to paddle – Silver Cliff, Palisade Head, Shovel Point – but you need to be aware that even though you’re close to shore, there’s no place to land. But really, anywhere along the North Shore is interesting, especially near the state parks. You’re not paddling past houses and you’re seeing Lake Superior in its wild state.”

Along the South Shore, Neustel said. “There’s the Apostle Islands and the sea caves, and along the Canadian side of Lake Superior, up by Rossport, Ontario, there are lots of islands. That’s a larger archipelago than the Apostles.”

“The only way to see Madeline Island is by kayak,” Kale asserted. His company offers overnight rentals so people can kayak to other islands and camp.

The rise in kayaking has continued for the last 10 to 15 years, outfitters said, trending with both environmental and health awareness. The Two Harbors Kayak Festival, which offers races and kayaking demos, will celebrate its 13th year in August, “and that event attracts about 500 people to Burlington Bay,” said Neustel, who serves on the event’s board. “It used to be, you’d see a car driving around with a kayak on the top and you knew who it was. Now, you don’t. And in my store, 20 years ago I had five brands of canoes and one brand of kayak. Now it’s the opposite. That’s how much it’s grown.”

It’s a fairly easy sport to learn, outfitters said, and many recommend trying one out at a festival or demo site before buying.

“… you can put (customers) into the most stable boats and then move them up into a less stable boat,” said Andrew Teichmiller, owner of Chequamegon Adventures Co. in Minocqua. “As they get to trying out maybe the third … maybe it’s less stable, but they’ve learned the difference in a short period of time and will feel like it’s the most stable boat.”

Teichmiller said a new recreational kayak can run about $500 to $1,000 with a “really nice” paddle and paddling life jacket.

“You can go nuts and spend thousands, and some people discover that’s what they want to do,” he said, but it’s not necessary. “Another thing about paddle sports is that no gas is required, so after that initial investment, typically most of our customers are in the type of boats where it’s a one-time investment.”

As with canoes or other boats, Teichmiller said, it’s possible to trade up. As long as it’s stored properly, a kayak will last a long time.

For paddling on Lake Superior, Neustel recommended a spray skirt, which is worn around the waist and makes a seal to keep water out of the cockpit; a paddle float; a hand-held bilge pump, and a wet suit.

“On Lake Superior, you need to dress for it,” he said. “If you do fall out, you need to have something that will keep you alive out there until you get back on a kayak.”

As with canoes and other watercraft, kayaks are specialized by size and shape for different types of water. A kayak for an inland lake would be dangerous on Lake Superior.

And while solitude and quiet are big draws for kayakers, paddling on Lake Superior is risky without a partner, outfitters said.

“A lot of people (paddle alone) on inland lakes on a calm quiet evening…but with changing conditions, you need to respect Lake Superior.

“The water is, for me, peace and quiet,” Kale said. “You can get away on the water. It very quickly becomes a life sport.”

Monday, April 12, 2010

What was it like Loving Mailer? Read below:

Loving Mailer, Mallory, Carole, Phoenix Books, Beverly Hills, Cal. 2009, ISBN  - 13- 978-1-60747-715-0, 201 pages.

Carole Mallory provides fresh insight into Norman Mailer the writer and lover in her tell-all memoir being released in April, 2010. Most of all, however, Mallory expels any doubt that she can weave a tale that holds the reader spellbound.
A former airline stewardess, supermodel, actress (The Stepford Wives, Looking for Mr. GoodBar) and celebrity journalist, Mallory reveals herself in this confessional book with an honest and often surprising look at her own and Mailer's sexuality and conversation on the art of writing.  A love affair that lasted almost a decade, their story is explicit. Mallory - who is happily married today - recounts her life while being Mailer's mistress and credits him, in large part, with the writer she became.

A self-proclaimed (former) alcoholic, Mallory credits writing as her passion and recounts for the reader the time when sex played an addictive role in her life as well. As she told Larry King in a 1988 interview following publication of her novel "Flash," writing is the fourth step to recovery."

She had stopped drinking before meeting Mailer, and she even tried to get him to quit. Although he doesn't, he becomes her writing mentor.In fact, it was Mailer that convinced her to hone her interviewing skills, which later landed her interviews with Isabella Rossellini, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Lieber and Stroller, Joseph Kennedy II, Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, Erica Jong, Jay McInerney, Chevy Chase, Dudly Moore, Milos Forman, Gore Vidal, James Ivory, Michel Apted, Lord David Puttnam, Julian Lennon, Mrs. Vincent Astor, Jesse Jackson and, of course, Mailer himself, nine times. In addition, her  novel "Flash" put her in the limelight around this same time.

"With each interview, my clout as a journalist grew and so was the use Norman Mailer could make of my skills, my connections with garnering publicity, and my place in the journalistic marketplace -- that is the magazine world -- a world unto its own," Mallory writes.

Whether one purchases "Loving Mailer" for the sexual encounters it reveals; or to gain fresh insight into
how writers learn from one another; the book is well worth the read. In this writer's opinion, Mallory is the
more exciting and revealing of the two, which might have been why Harvard University purchased her notes on the love affair for an undisclosed price.

And while sex, and even more so the lovers' interest in writing, are the glue that hold the book together;
it is Mallory herself who steals the show here. Open, tantalizing and refreshingly honest, she's a class act
who holds the reader's attention. Most likely, you'll find you can't put it down and you'll read it in one sitting.

Not only does it give a new perspective to Mailer's writings; but you'll hope Mallory herself comes out soon
with another spellbinding account of her journalistic rise to excellence.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

B.R. turns 80 ... (old post but interesting ...

featured in NEW YORK PRESS,

JUNE 5-11, 2002

written by Jim Knipfel

Photos by Regina Cherry

go to ... for photos
article is posted below:
BACK in 1951, a then 29 year old Barney Rosset bought a small publishing concern on Grove St. By the end of that decade, he had firmly established himself as one of the most important and influential men, not only in American publishing, but in terms of American culture as well.He introduced American readers to Beckett, Ionesco, Harold Pinter and Jean Genet. He brought national attention to the Beats long before they were called "Beats." In 1959, he fought for and won the right to publish the long-banned Lady Chatterly's Lover. He did the same for Naked Lunch and about half of everything Henry Miller wrote. Grove's literary journal Evergreen Review (also edited by Rosset) published everyone from Jean-Paul Sartre to Terry Southern. And throughout the 60s, Rosset was even involved in the film distribution business - focusing mostly on then - shocking European, um, "art" films like I Am Curious(Yellow). He was an iconoclast from the start - but he wasn't simply out to shock and disturb people (though he often did). Things that people found shocking at the time were things he recognized as valuable, important and honest works of art - and the passage of time has proven him right.

Rosset has long since sold Grove and moved on to other publishing ventures. These days, he's still editing Evergreen Review Online (, and remains a tireless crusader for First Amendment and free speech issues.

Well, Rosset turned 80 last week, and so a few friends decided to hold a little get-together in his honor at an enormous loft overlooking the intersection of Broadway and Bleecker St.

Not being someone who frequents parties of any kind, I'm afraid I can't very well provide a laundry list of all the luminaries in attendance. The overcrowded room still had that luminary - rich feel about it, though - no denying that. There was a fellow who looked like Norman Mailer but wasn't, and another who looked like George Plimpton and probably was. Photographer Arne Svenson was there, as was John Oakes, of Four Walls Eight Windows. Matt Dillon was there, too, looking mildly uncomfortable. There was some question as to why, exactly, Matt Dillon might be there, until I remembered his Burroughs connection-as well as the fact that he recently recorded an unabridged audio version of On the Road. With only a few exceptions, most everyone in the room seemed close to Rosset, age-wise.

Morgan and I and our friend Gary were there because we are all currently involved in the upcoming DVD release of Quiet Days in Clichy - a 1970 Dutch film (which Rosset had distributed in the States) based on a Henry Miller novel (which Rosset had published). We were going to be filming an interview with Rosset for the DVD a week later, and this was to be our official first introduction.

We worked our way through the crowd to where Rosset stood in the corner, greeting a seemingly endless line of well-wishers. He's a small man, bespectacled, with a great shock of white hair and an enormous - yet still impish-smile. He still seemed to have an awful lot of energy for a man who was turning 80.

Gary introduced us all, explaining who we were and why we were there. "Ahh," Rosset said as he shook our hands, "I've been thinking about this, and it put my whole life into perspective." You could tell from his eyes that he was about to launch into a story. Rosset, along with everything else, is famous for his stories. "The year was 1970," he began. "Fresno, California..." Unfortunately, before he had a chance to continue any further, someone stepped between us, grabbed Rosset's hand and began talking about something else.

The three of us worked our way back through the crowd and took a seat on what turned out to be the world's most comfortable sofa. Then we stayed there a while, wondering if we'd ever find out what happened to Barney Rosset in Fresno, CA, in 1970.

---Jim Knipfel

Monday, January 18, 2010

don’t forget: Ink ‘n Coffee Writers Workshop January 23! Register Now!

don’t forget: Ink ‘n Coffee Writers Workshop January 23! Register Now!

just a tidbit of useless knowledge, but it may be of interest of writers in Michigan: Judith Guest (Ordinary People) is the great-niece of Edgar A. Guest, who was at one time the Poet Laureate of Michigan and who wrote a poem a day for the Detroit Free Press for forty years.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to perform at Big Top next summer

Big Top Announces First Show of the Year

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band will perform a pair of concerts at Bayfield’s canvas jewel Big Top Chautauqua on July 17th and 18th. Both 7:30pm performances will be recorded by the band for a possible “Live from Big Top” album. Tickets for either the Saturday or Sunday shows are $48/$40/$32.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band formed in Southern California during the spring of 1966 as a scruffy, young jug band. Forty‐two years later, the quartet (Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, Bob Carpenter and John McEuen) is still going strong.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s self‐titled debut album, released in 1967, included the pop hit “Buy For Me The Rain.” But it was their 5th record, 1970’s Uncle Charlie and His Dog Teddy, that would become the band’s breakthrough project, yielding 3 pop hits including their version of Jerry Jeff Walker's “Mr. Bojangles.” Among the many outstanding tracks on Uncle Charlie was a version of Earl Scruggs’ “Randy Lynn Rag.” That cut set into motion what would become the Will the Circle be Unbroken album, a veritable summit of talent which included NDGB’s heroes: Scruggs, Doc Watson, Merle Travis, Roy Acuff and Mother Maybelle Carter. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Circle... album, a three‐LP set, recorded live in the studio in Nashville over six days in 1971, became a landmark event and a multi‐platinum success. Circle remains such a significant effort, that 30 years later it was one of 50 recordings to be honored and preserved by the Library of Congress.

In the early 80’s, after a few more pop hits, the band returned to Nashville once again and began what would become a highly successful career in mainstream country music. Hits that included “Dance Little Jean,” "Workin' Man", "Long Hard Road", “Baby's Got A Hold On Me” and “Fishin' in the Dark” put them at the top of the country charts for over a decade. In 1989, the group revisited the Circle concept, gathering another impressive roster of performers (including Johnny Cash, EmmyLou Harris, Levon Helm, Chet Atkins, Bruce Hornsby, John Hiatt and Roseanne Cash) for sessions that had a pronounced country‐gospel feel. Circle II would go on to win three Grammy Awards and the Country Music Association Album of the Year. In 2002 Circle III (with many current artists added to the previous cast) received similar accolades and attention, garnering the International Bluegrass Music Association Recorded Event of the Year award as well as leading to a 2005 Grammy for Country Instrumental Performance (with Earl Scruggs, Randy Scruggs, Jerry Douglas and the late Vassar Clements).

With a career that spans five decades, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has gone from a hippie jug‐band to pioneers of country rock, and their influence is still being felt today.

Information, schedules and ticket prices are available at or by calling 888-BIG-TENT (888–244-8368).