10.30.06 Rejuvenile Book Group
Here’s a chance to join a book group - without ever stepping into a stranger’s living room, drinking bad Merlot or enduring the Deep Thoughts of a frustrated English major…
An online discussion group will begin posting messages about Rejuvenile on Wednesday, November 1. So far a dozen readers have signed up; they plan to argue points, swap their own stories and pick apart my precious narrative thread by thread....
For this (and so much else), I have my wife Jenji to thank. The book group was organized by fans of Jenji’s Showtime series Weeds which wraps up its thrilling second season tonight and which is honestly an incredibly good and funny program, and not just because this season has included not one but THREE product placements for the book. So if nothing else, Rejuvenile has found an audience among stoner premium cable web addicts.
If you’d like to join the fun or read what a gang of surprisingly funny and insightful readers have to say about the book, head over to sho.com, click on WEEDS, enter the message boards; the REJUVENILE BOOK GROUP can be found under the EPISODE 12: PITTSBURGH thread. You’ll have to register with the site, but it’s no big whup.
Or try following this link.
Posted at 3:43 pm in 0 Comments
10.18.06 Oh, this is sleazy
I’m a sometime journalist, which puts me in some ugly company – I’m well aware the job title is shared by the likes of Nancy Grace, Geraldo Rivera and legions of other desperate, clueless hacks…
Over my own 15-odd year course of writing and reporting stories for newspapers and magazines, I’ve probably done a fair amount of hackery myself. And I’m sure I’ve done a few people wrong along the way.
But this week I’ve finally gotten a close-up look at how bad journalism looks from the other side of the notebook. And all I can say is, yuck.
A month or so back I was contacted by a producer for ABC World News Tonight about a story he was putting together on adult kickball. We talked about the World Adult Kickball Association and my own experience in the sport, and then I told him about all the other kidgames featured in the book and on this blog. He was unaware how far the phenomenon went, and so I happily filled him in on skipping, tag, dodgeball, staredown and rock paper scissors. Over the course of the next few weeks, we talked three or four more times as he followed my leads for footage and interviewed the tag players and rock paper scissors people. And then one afternoon in September a crew came to my house for what ended up being an hour-long interview.
The story aired last week… and there it all was, a full five minute World News Tonight feature on kidgames reclaimed by adults. Only one thing was missing: any reference to me or the book. Especially galling was a standup by correspondent Dean Reynolds, in which he said, “In fact any game you may have played at recess as a kid is probably now being played somewhere by adults. There are now staredown leagues for example. There’s an international skipping movement. And even a tag institute.”
That sounded awfully familiar - if I didn’t use those exact words in our interview, I said something very much like it.
When I called the producer the next day, he acknowledged that he “got guidance” from me but that he talked to 50 people and referred to other stories on the topic (though when pressed, he conceded that none of the other stories included all the examples he ended up using). His bureau chief agreed that no wrongdoing was done and that they would not apologize or even acknowledge that a mistake had been made. The best they could muster was to say they were “sorry I feel that way,” which felt even more unsatisfactory since that’s what I tell my wife when she’s got PMS and is raging about the lack of ice cream in the house…
I’ve raised the issue with ABC standards and practices and hope they at least acknowledge that this wasn’t model journalism. I’m told by friends in publishing biz that this sort of thing is happening more and more – reporters hard-up for angles will appropriate someone else’s work, if not their precise wording. While I absolutely recognize I don’t own this story, I think we can all agree it’s at best sloppy and at worst sleazy not to at least cite a source when a reporter cites several examples, follows several leads and even lifts some wording from someone who has spent many years studying a topic....
I’m incredibly grateful the book has gotten all the nice media attention it has – which makes this latest episode seem all the sleazier…
10.04.06 Party Favors (Formerly Niblets)
Thanks so much for stopping by! Grab a goodie bag, stuffed today with an assortment of low-cost, high-fun educational trinkets….
• Bernie De Koven, that reclusive Jedi knight of the rejuvenile world, has a great Podcast in which he monologues about the meaning of fun and games. Most recently, he posted a terrific audio essay on “deeply played games,” which he defines as high-profile, popular games that function as theatrical events and sources for life lessons as much as competitive events. My favorite line comes from a bit about American football: “It’s the brash, energetic, puppy-like play of a young culture, a game of total engagement, barely kept within the bounds of play. It’s highly organized, thinly disguised play fighting.”
• Another day, another viral kickball video. “Alive and Kicking” is a funny short about one man’s induction to the world of high-stakes adult kickball. In a sort of amateur kickball answer to “Dodgeball: A Ture Underdog Story,” the movie includes a championship match against a team of cut-throat rivals and a grizzled old kickball vet. Thanks, Scorekeeper, for the link!
10.04.06 Rejuvenile foodstuffs
The highly entertaining food blog Slashfood has a nice post today about so-called “retro foods” – citing familiar examples like gourmet cupcakes and mac-and-cheese, but also pointing out that many adults now happily and unapologetically snack on Hello Kitty Pop-tarts or chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs.
It’s true that eating often unlocks long-buried childhood sensations. Abba Zabba, candy-covered almonds, alphabet soup – a single taste can unleash all sorts of eerie and sometimes quite wonderful sense memories. My own list is endless, but in honor of my daughter Eliza, who is doing “C week” in kindergarten school right now, here a few of my favorite “C” rejuvenile foods:
We all could probably come up with a substantial menu of favorite retro foods. What’s perhpas surprising, tho, is that so many of us are now not merely reminiscing; we’re reclaiming and reinventing these foods as adult fare. The upscale restaurant Campanile here in L.A. does an successful grilled cheese night on Thursdays; young professionals in Bloomington, Indiana feast on 30 varieties of cereal and gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the new Cereal Barn and Peanut Butter Café; and the lines continue to stretch outside gourmet cupcake bakeries like Magnolia in N.Y and Sprinkles in L.A....
Elsewhere on the Slashfoods site, there’s mention of two more faddish rejuvenile food items – frozen yogurt topped with Cap’n Crunch at the new Pink Berry chain, and a new twist on the sno-cone that’s causing culinary conniptions in Tokyo.
What about you? What are the foods that most reliably take you back? Tater Tots, Lucky Charms, Jello, Slurpees?