Saturday, July 31, 2021

the last book I ever read (Moments with Chaplin by Lillian Ross, excerpt five)

from Moments with Chaplin by Lillian Ross:

“The Plaza was very new, very magnificent when I was first here,” Chaplin said. “And the big thing then was Riverside Drive. That was the really posh place to live, in one of those mansions on Riverside Drive. There are so mnay streets I like, but I don’t suppose we’ll get to them today. Second Avenue. There was great vitality of Second Avenue when it had all those houses with little gardens.”

When we reached Times Square, Chaplin stood in front of the Police Department information booth and looked around. He took some tortoise-shell-rimmed glasses out of his inside coat pocket and put them on.



Friday, July 30, 2021

the last book I ever read (Moments with Chaplin by Lillian Ross, excerpt four)

from Moments with Chaplin by Lillian Ross:

In September, 1952, Chaplin and his wife came to New York. They came by train, stopping in Chicago briefly en route, Chaplin’s newly finished movie, “Limelight”—the last movie he made in this country—was scheduled to open shortly, and after that they were planning to sail on the Queen Elizabeth, with their children (there were four by then: Geraldine, Michael, Josephine, and Victoria), for Chaplin’s first visit to London in twenty years, on what he thought was going to be a vacation. He did not yet know that on the ship he would be informed by the United States government that, as a British subject suspected of “left-wing leanings,” he would not be welcome to return to the United States. When the Chaplins arrived in New York, they checked into the Sherry-Netherland, and Oona called me to ask if I wanted to go walking with Charlie around the city. “I can’t go,” Oona said. “He walked me for four hours in Chicago. I’ve got blisters on both heels.”

The next morning at eleven, I went to pick Chaplin up at their suite.



Thursday, July 29, 2021

the last book I ever read (Moments with Chaplin by Lillian Ross, excerpt three)

from Moments with Chaplin by Lillian Ross:

Chaplin looked delighted, and ready to start all over again. “Keep it simple,” he said briskly. “Keep it sincere. Now, what about some wheat cakes and coffee?”

It was almost three in the morning. With the cast and management of the Circle at his heels, he set off at a fast clip for an all-night beanery that could supply wheat cakes and coffee.



Wednesday, July 28, 2021

the last book I ever read (Moments with Chaplin by Lillian Ross, excerpt two)

from Moments with Chaplin by Lillian Ross:

A little while later, he was showing the cast how to go on and off the stage. “I’m essentially an entrance-and-exit man,” he said. “Good exits and good entrances. That’s all theatre is. And punctuation. That’s all it is.”



Tuesday, July 27, 2021

the last book I ever read (Moments with Chaplin by Lillian Ross, excerpt one)

from Moments with Chaplin by Lillian Ross:

Charlie Chaplin was the first international movie star. He was also the first movie figure to be widely regard as a denius. Through all the decades since Chaplin’s arrival in Hollywood in the early years of motion-picture history; through all the changes and developments that have taken place in the industry with the advent of sound, color, new cameras, new dollies, the wide screen, stereophonic sound, big studios, no studios, big budgets, little budgets, big and rich producers, little and poor producers, big-star pictures, no-star pictures, big agents, the bankers in the background, the tie-ins with books, the tie-ins with records; through the rise of the director, the rise of the movie writers, the rise of movie-theory jargon, the rise of intellectuals as custodians of the art of “film,” the rise of college courses in “film,” the rise of the lecture circuit on “film,” the rise in the power of the stars, and the superpower of the superstars; through the strain to compete with television, the strain to cooperate with television; and through the countless technological advances—through every thing, Charlie Chaplin has persisted as a gigantic, incomparable figure. His pictures have by now been seen by billions of people all over the world. For many years, Chaplin’s life, like that of many movie stars, was disrupted, or at least thrown into confusion, by publicity of one kind or another, but at the age of fifty-four he married Oona O’Neill, the daughter of Eugene O’Neill, and with her he settled down into a period of astonishing serenity, which lasted as long as he lived. I first met the Chaplins in Hollywood, at a party, in 1948, when they were living in Beverly Hills with the first two of their eight children, and I continued to see them from time to time over the subsequent years. Their home always served as a refuge from the Hollywood frenzy, a very nice refuge—with a tennis court, a pool, and regular Sunday outdoor teas—which they shared graciously with other refugees of all kinds, both foreign and domestic. It was great fun for me, for one thing, to talk in a relaxed way with guests like Jean Renoir, James Agee, and Carol Matthau in that setting. For another thing, I spend some pleasant hours on the Chaplins’ tennis court, playing with (or against) Chaplin, who always played to win.



Sunday, July 25, 2021

the last book I ever read (Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell, excerpt fourteen)

from Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell by Deborah Solomon:

Astoundingly, in the fall of 1970, Cornell actually signed up for a life drawing class. He enrolled with Mary Frank, an attractive, London-born sculptor who was thirty years his junior and was married to the photographer Robert Frank. She considered Cornell an artist of the first rank and was bewildered by the notion of having him audit her course, not least because he seemed so profoundly troubled. “I couldn’t imagine him in a class of eighteen-year-olds who didn’t know his work,” she said years later. “I couldn’t imagine what I’d do so that he could be comfortable. He looked like he had died a long time ago. He was all gray and unshaven and in a deep, deep depression.”

Cornell attended her class five or six times, and apparently made an effort at drawing. He would sit on a stool at the side of the classroom with a sketchbook in hand – “the kind you buy in Woolworth’s,” Frank said, “Smaller and cheaper than everyone else’s.” As students passed the session sketching from a male or female model, Cornell appeared to do the same. However, when Frank glanced at his page one day, there was nothing inscribed on it beyond “a curving line that crossed over itself.” Cornell insisted that she keep the drawing as a gift. He liked her enormously and was amazed to learn that her father was Edward Lockspeiser, who had written an important book on Debussy in 1963. Naturally Cornell had read it. He told her that he knew it “by heart.”



Saturday, July 24, 2021

the last book I ever read (Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell, excerpt thirteen)

from Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell by Deborah Solomon:

Cornell soon found another assistant with the help of Eugene Goossen, who had organized his Bennington College show and who now came through on the promise he had made to find Cornell a female helper. Pat Johanson, who started work in January 1961 (and whom Goossen would later marry), was a junior majoring in art and was thrilled at the prospect of spending a semester in New York in the company of an important artist. During her first days on the job, Cornell struck her as a charming oddball. It was the dead of winter, and he would toss birdseed on the kitchen table and open a window so that sparrows flew in from the yard. The birds ate off the table as Cornell looked on, as if willing his Aviary boxes into motion. “When you saw the man in situ,” she later remarked, “that was the interesting part: he lived all those tableaux that appear in his boxes. All of them.”

But Johanson, an attractive brunette, soon became afraid of Cornell. There was something disturbing about the attention he lavished on her. She suspected that he looked at her in strictly sexual terms and was twisted by ungratified desires. “Whenever I arrived,” she said, “he would chase his mother upstairs, and if she didn’t want to go, he’d become insistent. ‘Out, out, out.’ I think he wanted to be alone with me. I think he wanted just to look at me.” Acting with uncharacteristic impatience, Cornell brushed aside Robert as well. One evening he served his brother a Swanson’s frozen dinner without bothering to heat it up. “It was so pathetic,” Johanson said. “Robert just sat there stabbing at this piece of ice with his fork.”



Friday, July 23, 2021

the last book I ever read (Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell, excerpt twelve)

from Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell by Deborah Solomon:

The article, at seven pages, was by far the most extensive piece to be published on Cornell so far. If he was pleased by it, he did not say so in his journals. He did not even keep a copy of it. But then Cornell had never kept reviews of his shows, never bothered to clip them from newspapers or magazines – a startling oversight for an artist who was always snipping and cutting, who was stirred by archival passions. Perhaps even stranger than the otherworldly visions he had confided to the readers of Art News was the disavowal of his career. He had dozens of articles on Lauren Bacall. He had a suitcase of clippings on Cerrito. About himself, however, he had nothing. He made no effort to record his worldly accomplishments, as if somehow pained by the very notion of them.



Thursday, July 22, 2021

the last book I ever read (Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell, excerpt eleven)

from Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell by Deborah Solomon:

It was through Windham that Cornell met Lois Smith, a Topeka-born actress who, at twenty-five, had already embarked on a successful career on Broadway. In the fall of 1955, she was starring in The Young and Beautiful, an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Josephine” stories. Cornell, of course, had always preferred staying home and dreaming about performers to actually seeing a show, so perhaps it’s not surprising that, according to Windham, he attended the play at the Longacre Theatre only to spend the evening “with his hands over his eyes,” apparently warding off a migraine. Yet he saw enough to make a collage in Lois Smith’s honor, For Josephine, named for her role, and included a photo of her cut out from a Playbill. He asked Windham to hang the collage in his apartment and give it to the actress as a gift should she pause to admire it – which she did. So began an affectionate friendship, though time did not permit the Broadway actress to appear in a Cornell movie.



Wednesday, July 21, 2021

the last book I ever read (Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell, excerpt ten)

from Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell by Deborah Solomon:

Despite his acknowledged lack of social skills, Cornell made at least one new friend – one new living friend, that is – in 1943. She was Marianne Moore, the poet. A generation older than Cornell, she lived in a frame house in Brooklyn, a sixtyish spinster in a black cloak and tricorn hat. Moore and Cornell had much in common. Both were arch-modernists who lived with their mothers in the outer New York boroughs. Both were legendary prudes. Both were appreciators of the ballet and had contributed to Dance Index. Both were drawn to poetic portraits of animals – the pangolin, for instance, in Moore’s case; the bird, in Cornell’s – as a form of self-portrait. And more generally, both sublimated sensuality into dispassionate, nearly taxonomic precision in their work, and over time would come to stand for the artistic power of reticence.

Cornell became acquainted with the poet’s work through Charles Henri Ford and Parker Tyler, who assiduously courted her for View. Tyler was enamored of Moore’s poems and had published an interview with her in one of the first issues of View. The interview had been conducted at Grand Central Terminal, and Moore appears in the article as a punctilious old maid, her gaze straying anxiously toward the station’s giant clock because “she was to meet her mother at the dentist’s.”



Tuesday, July 20, 2021

the last book I ever read (Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell, excerpt nine)

from Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell by Deborah Solomon:

Acquiring a used bicycle from his brother-in-law, Cornell rode it to work, a string bean of a man peddling leisurely through the tree-lined streets of Queens. Some of his most contented moments that year were spent touring different banlieus – his French appellation for the nearby neighborhoods he saw from the seat of his bicycle. A favorite destination was the “house on the hil” in the waterside community of Malba, where he might scout for driftwood or dried grasses for his boxes, and be equally pleased, as he noted in his journals, “by the fantastic aspect of arriving home almost hidden on the vehicle by the loads piled high.” The relics of the natural world – shells, dead wood, dead grass – satisfied his scavenging passions as much as any antique photo or print he picked up in the city.

Bicycle riding, Cornell felt, allowed for a kind of mental voyaging that other forms of movement inhibited. Walking, he noted in his journals, “inevitably produces fatigue, and the inspiration of initial enthusiasms [is] soon lost.” He never learned how to drive a car and cared little for being a passenger: “Riding by car one takes too much for granted, and personal reactions [are] lessened by conversation.” Bicycle riding, by contrast, provided rich opportunities for daydreaming. On most mornings, riding to the nursery, he would arrive downtown before the stores opened, before shoppers filled the streets. These peaceful early-morning hours made Flushing appear suddenly and startlingly unfamiliar, “a dream place,” as he described it.



Monday, July 19, 2021

the last book I ever read (Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell, excerpt eight)

from Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell by Deborah Solomon:

Though he continued to visit the city, Cornell had begun to withdraw from the world of galleries and shows. Like the long silences in his social conversations, wide gaps habitually dropped into his exhibition history. He was always recoiling from something or someone: an art collector, a curator, the whole prospect of a career in art. And in 1943 he retreated from the art world, deciding to take yet another job: he signed up for defense work. Starting in April and continuing for eight months, he worked at the Allied Control Company, Inc., an electronics plant in Long Island City, a Queens industrial district across the East River from Manhattan. His job consisted of assembling and testing radio controls, for which he was paid 55 cents an hour, about twice the minimum wage and twice what he had earned at the Traphagen textile studio. As other men went off to war, Cornell went the way of Rosie the Riveter, dutifully joining the thousands of women who worked in defense plants during the war years to compensate for the shortage of male labor.

Cornell had often complained in the past about having a nine-to-five job. He hated working – but he hated not working, as if still unable to reconcile himself to making art full-time. His triumphs of the previous year had changed his life not in the least. He was no Picasso, it seemed to him, just a man at a table in a basement in Queens, guiltily aware of his family’s needs and how little he was contributing financially. The war only reminded him further of sacrifices he had failed to make. According to his sister Betty, Cornell went back to work because “he wanted some kind of involvement” after the U.S. draft board rejected him for medical reasons. By now he was forty-one, too old to serve anyway.



Sunday, July 18, 2021

the last book I ever read (Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell, excerpt seven)

from Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell by Deborah Solomon:

Most of Cornell’s ballet-related pieces belong to a long series of Homages to the Romantic Ballet, in which he sprinkled tulle and glitter into tiny velvet-lined boxes made from wood. The boxes are too treacly to qualify as substantial works of art and remind us that Cornell’s ballet-related pieces are probably the most uneven of his career. Looking at his many Homages, some as small as four inches square, we do not doubt his fondness for ballerinas and the erotic charge their costumes held for him. When Cornell faltered in his work, it was not because he was insincere. Rather, it was because he was too sincere. With every new work, he risked lapsing into the sentimental.

There is only one ballet-related box from this period which, for this viewer anyway, classifies as a masterwork: Taglioni’s Jewel Casket of 1940 (it’s now owned by the Museum of Modern Art). The title refers to Marie Taglioni, the quintessential ballerina of the Romantic era. The daughter of a well-known Italian choreographer, she achieved her greatest fame as a winged creature of the air when she danced the title role in La Sylphide in Paris in 1832. Cornell was fascinated to read in a book that the ballerina traveled with her very own “jewel casket,” in which she stored the gems that had been showered on her by appreciative kings and tsars.



Saturday, July 17, 2021

the last book I ever read (Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell, excerpt six)

from Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell by Deborah Solomon:

On May 9, 1929, after a decade of living in rented houses, the Cornell family bought a house at 37-08 Utopia Parkway, in Flushing, just a few miles from their previous residence. The twenties had been a rosy time for the town. After plans were announced in 1923 to extend the subway line out to Flushing, enabling riders to get to and from Manhattan for a nickel, block after block of single-family homes sprang up on what had been open farmland. By the time the Cornell family moved to Flushing, the subway was a year old and Main Street, where the terminal was located, had shed the quaint wooden storefronts of its past and entered modern times. There was even a brand-new movie palace, Keith’s.

The Cornell’s new house, which cost $14,000 and had been built the previous year – it was Mrs. Cornell who held the deed – could not have been more ordinary. A two-and-a-half-story Dutch colonial whose shingles were painted white, it sat on a quarter-acre and was one in a row of four identical houses set closely together on the block. The fa├žade was split down the middle by a red-brick chimney, making the house look narrower than it was. Out back was Cornell’s “Arcadia,” a tiny scrap of lawn squeezed between the high walls of the house’s detached garage and the garage next door. Mrs. Cornell, who liked to garden, wasted no time in planting a quince tree in the yard; she had bought it, her son always liked to point out, as a sprig at the local Bloomingdale’s “for seventy-nine cents.” In coming years the tree would grow tall and strong, and provide Joseph with a favorite site for reading, daydreaming, and entertaining his man guests.



Friday, July 16, 2021

the last book I ever read (Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell, excerpt five)

from Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell by Deborah Solomon:

Cornell’s eating habits did little to assuage his stomach problems. He loved sweets, so much so that, in later life, he was rumored to subsist on nothing but doughnuts. Already his craving for sugar was manifest. In one of his few surviving letters from this period, Cornell reported with great enthusiasm that his mother had set up a “luxury shelf” in the icebox reserved exclusively for heavy cream and other goodies. Futhermore, he noted, he “finished off [a] jelly roll from Sandwich this morning with best creamery butter.” Cornell possessed the child’s predilection for sweets, an indulgence for which his chronic dyspepsia was perhaps self-willed penance.



Thursday, July 15, 2021

the last book I ever read (Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell, excerpt four)

from Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell by Deborah Solomon:

The neighborhood where Cornell reported to work every day had its own rewards. He knew Madison Square from the days when his father had worked nearby and was not unhappy to be back among the urban landmarks of his childhood. In nice weather he would often have his lunch on a bench in the square, a large, unpretentious park starting at Twenty-third Street, where clerks, shop assistants, and office girls would sit and eat their frugal sandwiches. The park looked out on wonderful buildings, such as the Flatiron Building – our American Parthenon, as Alfred Stieglitz called it at the time of his famous photograph – and the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Building, with its faux-Ventian tower. And then there was Stanford White’s Madison Square Garden, at Madison Avenue and Twenty-sixth Street, the soon-to-be demolished entertainment palace whose boxing matches and circuses made the area a hub of activity.



Wednesday, July 14, 2021

the last book I ever read (Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell, excerpt three)

from Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell by Deborah Solomon:

It was believed that there was in fact a resident artist in the Cornell household: not Joseph but his sister Elizabeth. Her mother thought she was uncommonly gifted and sent her to have lessons after spotting an ad an artist had plaeed in the local paper. The artist happened to be Edward Hopper. This was in the summer of 1915, and Hopper, at thirty-three, was eking out a living in illustration. In Nyack he was known mainly as the son of Garret Hopper, who owned a dry-goods store on South Broadway where Eddie had once worked after school. For some time now, Hopper had been living in New York City, but he would return to Nyack on Saturday mornings to teach classes in painting at his parents’ house, where his hovering mother would serve lemonade to his students.

It would be nice to report that Joseph, too, studied with Hopper. It is appealing to imagine them as acquaintances, these two poets of yearning. For all the vast differences between their work, they shared a fascination with empty space and the melancholy feeling it can convey. Is it mere coincidence that both artists were obsessed with hotels? Hopper painted pictures set in hotel rooms, and Cornell would one day make a series of bare-looking Hotel boxes, a motif perhaps at least partly related to their boyhoods spent in the hotel town of Nyack.



Tuesday, July 13, 2021

the last book I ever read (Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell, excerpt two)

from Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell by Deborah Solomon:

It was at the Hippodrome that Cornell had the chance to see Harry Houdini, who escaped from chains and a locked safe, and made elephants vanish into thin air. Houdini’s act turned out to be the most memorable performance of Cornell’s youth; the magician would loom over his childhood as a symbol not only of inspired entertainment but of artistic possibility as well. For art, as much as a magic show, can be a disappearing act, and the notion of vanishing was central to the young Cornell’s imagination. The metal rings and suspended chains that would later become common elements in his boxes refer at least partly to Houdini and the memory of a lonely boy who wished to vanish from the shackles of day-to-day reality. And the very form of the box was already intriguing to Cornell; whereas Houdini escaped out of boxes, Cornell would one day escape into them.



Monday, July 12, 2021

the last book I ever read (Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell, excerpt one)

from Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell by Deborah Solomon:

His parents had been married for just over a year when Joseph, their first child, was born on Christmas Eve, 1903, in South Nyack, New York, a picturesque village on the Hudson River about thirty miles north of New York City. Delivered at home, with a Dr. Toms in attendance, the healthy newborn was the sixth in a line to bear the name Joseph I. Cornell. He would never know what his middle initial stood for, a comic and personal enigma.



Sunday, July 11, 2021

the last book I ever read (Seth Rogen's Yearbook, excerpt thirteen)

from Yearbook by Seth Rogen:

Me and Ben drove from the grocery store to the house we rented, near the outskirts of Joshua Tree National Park. When we got there, it kind of reminded me of where Sarah Connor’s friends live in Terminator 2, the place with the underground bunker where Arnold gets the minigun. It had a bit of a “survivalist” vibe. But it also had an outdoor fireplace, so we were psyched.

The others arrived and Evan pulled out the acid. It was on little tiny paper tabs, which surprised me for some reason. We each took a tab and put it on our tongue. It was one of those moments when I thought, I’ve only ever seen this in movies, and it always looked exactly like this. Which is also what I’ll probably think when a tsunami wipes out Los Angeles.



Saturday, July 10, 2021

the last book I ever read (Seth Rogen's Yearbook, excerpt twelve)

from Yearbook by Seth Rogen:

Jews have a lot of odd traditions.

They wear kippahs, which are funny little hats about the size of the palm of your hand that, I’m sure NOT so coincidentally, fit perfectly over a bald spot. Am I saying a major tenet of Judaism was formed to protect the vanity of balding Jewish men? Yeah. Yeah, I am.



Friday, July 9, 2021

the last book I ever read (Seth Rogen's Yearbook, excerpt eleven)

from Yearbook by Seth Rogen:

The movie Tombstone came out in 1993, and while it wasn’t a massive box office or critical hit (The New York Times called it “morally ambiguous”), it made an impression on many, mostly due to an amazing performance by Val Kilmer that was publicly praised by President Bill Clinton, which is the single most nineties sentence one could write. As 1994 rolled around, a young me was smitten with not only Kilmer’s performance as Doc Holliday but the entire Western aesthetic. The result? A fuckload of vests.

I could not own enough vests. I’d have bought more torsos just to wear them all if it were an option. I loved me a vest. It packed me in, gave me shape, and, most important, kinda made me feel like a cowboy who was dying of tuberculosis, which Val Kilmer had somehow made seem super-awesome. I also wore a pocket watch, which in a truly impressive act of delusion, I convinced myself was cool as fuck.

It wasn’t.



Thursday, July 8, 2021

the last book I ever read (Seth Rogen's Yearbook, excerpt ten)

from Yearbook by Seth Rogen:

One of the first times the militant and anti-Semitic right wing started to target me online was after I told off Ben Carson for saying that Jews could have protected themselves better during the Holocaust if they’d had easier access to guns. A crazy idea that not only blames Jews for being victims but uses the deaths of the Holocaust to bolster America’s ridiculous guns laws.

These victim-blaming talking points were being repeated just hours after the shooting, not only by the media but by the president himself. The idea that it’s up to the threatened classes to protect themselves from bigots not to spread hatred and act on their terrible instincts is as stupid as, well, Trump.



Wednesday, July 7, 2021

the last book I ever read (Seth Rogen's Yearbook, excerpt nine)

from Yearbook by Seth Rogen:

His voice rumbled my loins, like a lion’s roar.

A few weeks later, in October 2018, I found myself living in downtown Pittsburgh. I had just moved there for a few months to film An American Pickle. I woke up one Saturday morning and checked my phone, learning about the Tree of Life terrorist attack minutes after it started, about three miles from where I was sitting. It would go on to be the worst act of anti-Jewish violence in the history of the United States of America. I felt sick to my stomach. I spent the day walking around the city. Everywhere I went, I saw the same shocked look on people’s faces.

People were asking, “How could this happen?” And unfortunately, the answer is obvious. First, it’s real easy to get your hands on a high-powered assault rifle in America. Combine that with a president who de-stigmatized outward hatred and social-media platforms that allow people to stoke flames of hatred to the point of combustion.

Because of Twitter, the shooter didn’t see himself as a villain. He saw himself as a hero. This guy thought Jews were facilitating the entrance of terrorists into the country—an idea that’s perpetuated by countless verified Twitter accounts, right-wing news outlets, and GOP politicians. And without Jack doing anything to stop the spread of all these lies, all he was telling people was that they were NOT lies. If they were, he wouldn’t be endorsing and amplifying them, right? Wouldn’t he take the verification away from the people who spread these lies if they were in fact lies? No action, no infraction. It all must be true.



Tuesday, July 6, 2021

the last book I ever read (Seth Rogen's Yearbook, excerpt eight)

from Yearbook by Seth Rogen:

His voice rumbled my loins, like a lion’s roar.

“Hi, Sylvester.” That’s when I realized that there is not other human on earth named Sylvester. There’s a cartoon cat named Sylvester, but literally no other human I’ve ever met. I’ve been alive almost forty years. I’ve met a grand total of one Sylvester, and it was Stallone. It’s a VERY rare name. And to say the name “Sylvester” out loud to a person named “Sylvester” really makes you realize just how strange a name “Sylvester” is. It’s bizarre. For some reason “Sylvester Stallone” isn’t that weird. The “Stallone” somehow anchors it in normalcy. But you take that away and find yourself with just “Sylvester” dangling out there like a dick in the breeze, and you understand how odd it is.

If you’re thinking, That’s not that weird of a name, then you’re just exposing yourself as someone who’s never been face-to-face with a Sylvester. And by that I mean, you’re somebody who has never met Sylvester Stallone, because, again, there is only one Sylvester on the planet, and it’s him.



Monday, July 5, 2021

the last book I ever read (Seth Rogen's Yearbook, excerpt seven)

from Yearbook by Seth Rogen:

I shudder when I think about what would have happened if Trump was president when all this shit went down. He’d have sent my fucking head to North Korea in a box in exchange for some beautiful letters.

As strange a time as it all was, there were a lot of bright spots. Lauren couldn’t have been more supportive and wonderful. In the midst of the mayhem, I got an email from Russell Crowe, who I’d only met a couple times, inviting me to his ranch in Australia to hide if I needed to. I said no, but it always struck me as nice. George Clooney tried to get all the heads of the major studios to sign a letter in solidarity with Sony and the film. None of them would sign it, but I appreciated the attempt. The fact that Clooney spent even one afternoon thinking of me is flattering.



Saturday, July 3, 2021

the last book I ever read (Seth Rogen's Yearbook, excerpt six)

from Yearbook by Seth Rogen:

I spotted a big green room that said BOB DYLAN, with the doors wide open. There were dozens of people inside, so I was able to sneak in and grab a beer from the bar. I looked for Bob but didn’t see him. It would have been amazing to meet him. I’m a huge fan of his, which is kinda like saying, “I’m a huge fan of pasta,” in that who the fuck isn’t? There are not a lot of cool Jews to look up to, and he's objectively the top of the list. James Caan being right below him. James Caan is actually a scary Jew, which is almost unheard of. He’s in his own lane, Jew-wise.



Friday, July 2, 2021

the last book I ever read (Seth Rogen's Yearbook, excerpt five)

from Yearbook by Seth Rogen:

Singapore was the biggest trip of all. The only real thing I knew about Singapore was that in the nineties, an American did some graffiti there and the punishment was that he was caned, as in whacked by a fucking cane, which is intense. I should also say I learned this fact from a Weird Al song.

The arrival was terrifying. We stepped off the plane, and they took our passports and slipped a little piece of paper inside each one that basically said that if you have drugs on you, they’ll execute you, which is a real threat for someone like me. I do, in fact, often have drugs on me, and even though I was pretty sure I didn’t at this moment, I’ve on more than one occasion accidentally brought contraband from one place to another, so this was some high-stakes packing I had just done. Never did the question “Did I accidentally leave a roach in one of my pockets?” have literal life-or-death stakes before, but I’m currently alive so spoiler alert.



Thursday, July 1, 2021

the last book I ever read (Seth Rogen's Yearbook, excerpt four)

from Yearbook by Seth Rogen:

I can now see that he is basically unconscious, his body balanced in the chair shockingly well. He’s propped up in kind of a Weekend at Bernie’s-esque way. If he had sunglasses on, he would almost look normal.

I then look around and realize that this chair I put him in is actually at the head of a table of about twelve people. They are all staring at me and Scott, not really knowing what to say, and before I can explain anything, a fleet of servers and starts placing food in front of them, not noticing that there is maybe-dead man at the head of the table.