While I was out of

While I was out of town at my parents’ farm near Samson, Alabama, the other editors of The High Hat, aka the best damn magazine on the web, managed to pull together Issue No. 9 without any help from yours truly at all. This goes without saying, but I’m going to say it, anyway: they are mindblowingly, forkbendingly, breathtakingly, worldshakingly awesome people, and it’s due to their smarts and diligence that every issue of the Hat is better than the last.

This one is dedicated to places, and is chock-full of stand-out articles, including Erika Jahneke on the ghosts of 9/11 in Rescue Me and World Trade Center, Shauna McKenna on Roma and Tokyo-Ga, and tons of brilliance, especially from the extra-prolific Phil Nugent and Steve Hicken.

I contributed a semi-considered article on the films Gerry and Grizzly Man and the tv shows Survivorman and Man Vs. Wild, all of which deal with little people lost in the huge indifference of Nature. Go check it out.

On another note, if you left me a comment asking for an email and haven’t received one yet, please let me know. I’ve tried to answer all the emails, but I’ve been a bit extra-scattered and smothered and even a little covered lately, what with my book in endgame plus stress of family tragedy and distractions related to our little nuclear family.

My baby brother Michael died yesterday.

My baby brother Michael died yesterday.

He was profoundly retarded. When he was born, the doctors told us it would be a miracle if he lived to be 16. But he did, and then he went on living another 7 years.

Michael was a baby all his life. He didn’t walk. He needed to be fed. He wore diapers. He was mostly blind, but he loved to have the sunshine on his face. He loved to hear people talk to him and loved having people fawn over him. He loved music. He hated to be held, but there was no other way to move him around. He may have been my brother, but he was heavy. He hated loud noises. He hated having to wait for his dinner and would make an awful racket.

Michael was lucky that my parents shouldered the burden of taking care of him. My parents chose to sacrifice everything they could to make Michael happy, and they succeeded. Michael was happy almost every day of his life. What more could anyone ask out of this wicked world?

And I miss him terribly. Even though I knew it was going to happen soon. Even though I’ve been expecting that call for years. It’s hard to realize exactly how much you love someone like that until they’re gone, and now he’s gone, my sweet baby brother Michael.

I’ve long thought Deborah Solomon was a

I’ve long thought Deborah Solomon was a terrible interviewer. Her short fluffy NYT Magazine interviews have a strangely aloof quality to them, as if there is a disconnect between what is asked and what is answered. As it turns out, that appears to be the case. This is ok for satirists like Colbert and the Daily Show guys, but it’s not so great for the Grey Lady.

I also want to point out Phil Nugent’s clear-eyed analysis of the Bush Administration’s weird ethical gymnastics. It’s a thing of truth and beauty.

Last, but definitely not least, the 33 1/3 blog has an excerpt from David Smay’s upcoming book on Swordfishtrombones. Smay is not just a good friend and a hell of a writer; he’s the guy who first gave me a break when he and Kim Cooper accepted my submissions to Lost In The Grooves. This excerpt excites me quite a bit. I think it’s going to be a hell of a great book, and I’m looking forward to seeing any parallels between his work and my own.

Geneva Elise Barrett ChildsBorn 5:35 am, 8/2. …

Geneva Elise Barrett Childs

Born 5:35 am, 8/2. 8 lbs 1 oz.

She came about ~30 seconds after the water broke with no one in the room but a very surprised nurse (who’d just arrived), the doula, and me. The nurse was next to me, struggling to pull on her glove, cursing, maybe stressed. I was telling her to calm down, but then I looked down and saw my little girl’s head, already out. I reached down and caught her as she was born into the world, and that was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.

Y’all remember when I used to blog regularly? Nei…

Y’all remember when I used to blog regularly? Neither do I.

Lots has happened in the last… month? Really? Damn, it’s been a while.

Most of these guys who I memed below have done that thing that I asked them to do. Sorry for the vagueness, but it’s easy to forget what the hell I’m talking about.

The Bush Admin has completely gone off the deep end with the Scooter Libby pardons, man-sized safes, repeal of desegregation laws, that sort of thing. But you know all that.

Most importantly, our baby is imminent! She’s head-down and low (and I say “she” knowing full well that she could be a he) and could show up, like, any minute now. We have carseats at the ready.

What we don’t have yet is a crib. That’s gotta happen.

Our son’s new room is almost done. I’ve spent the last month painting and building IKEA furniture (thanks, Scott & Kathy, for your contributions to that effort!) and turning the garage into a guest bedroom/study/storage area (before, it was just a junk room, basically).

I’m sure I have more to gas on about, but I’ve got too much to do right now. Next post could be notice about the birth, so check back periodically (so I say to all none of you who read this stupid blog).