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Monday, January 23, 2006
8:06 AM
My friend Eileen Gunn has this essay of mine, called Time Machine Cuba, up on the final iteration of her excellent site/zine.

Saturday, January 21, 2006
9:11 PM
“Grandfather was one of the less obvious participants in the formation of the Direccion General de Inteligencia.”

“Carlito told you that?”

“I already knew it. From Juana.”

Tito thought about this as he put the kettle to boil on the element. Their grandfather’s secrets could not have gone with him entirely. Legends grew like vines, through a family like theirs, and the midden of their shared history, however deep, was narrow, constrained by each member’s need for secrecy. Juana, so long in charge of the production of required documents, would have enjoyed a certain overview. And Juana, Tito firmly believed, was the deepest of them all, the calmest, most patient. He had gone to live with her, on East 118th, after 9/11. She had taken him to El Siglo XX Supermarket to buy malanga, like a potato, and boniato, like a yam with white flesh. The sauces she’d prepared to serve with these vegetables had been of a potency he’d already found alien, but her empanadas had made him feel as if he were blessed. She had never told him about this Semenov, but she had taught him other things. He glanced toward the vessel holding Ochun. “What did Carlito say, about the old man?”

Alejandro looked over his knees. “Carlito said there is a war in America.”

“A war?”

“A civil war.”

“There is no war, Alejandro, in America.”

“When grandfather helped found the DGI, in Havana, were the Americans at war with the Russians?”

“That was the ‘cold war’.”

Alejandro nodded, his hands coming up to grip his knees. “A cold civil war.”

Tito heard a sharp click from the direction of Ochun’s vase, but thought instead of Eleggua, He Who Opens And Closes The Roads. He looked back at Alejandro.

“You don’t follow politics, Tito.”

Tito thought of the voices on the Russian Network of America, drowning somehow, taking his Russian with them. “A little,” he said.

Thursday, January 19, 2006
8:52 PM
I guess this is the literary equivalent of phantom limb syndrome, but now that I'm pretty much convinced that J.T. Leroy never existed, I catch myself regretting never having met him. I think that might mean that he was America's first idoru, in the fullest Japanese sense, paradoxically manifesting mainly on our oldest mass-media platform, the printed word.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006
12:46 PM

SoHo, January 9, 2006

Sunday, January 01, 2006
3:17 PM
Fashionpolice rather horrifyingly points out that I told that same Rickson's story back in '03 (at least I was consistent). Also rather horrifying is the photo of LeitzNoctilux playing gleefully with olive oil while wearing his Buzz Rickson's PR MA-1. Olive oil and black nylon sateen, sir, are a potentially disastrous combination!

Someone else urges me to shut up and get back to work. Which I will now do, though not before pointing out Gil Williamson's very own F:F:F site, which I've only just discovered. Sort of like a Borges story, for me, but turned inside out... Thanks, Gil!

[Speaking of Borges, here's my totally atemporal reading suggestion for the new year: JLB's Selected Non-Fictions, as edited by Eliot Weinberger for the 1999 Viking edition. Not only can you find things here like Borges' review of the original King Kong, but you can also savor him flipping off Argentina's many Hitler fans, in essays like the exquisite "I, A Jew". When Viking mailed out promotional copies of their great three-volume JLB set, they included one of my favorite bumper-stickers of all time: "HONK IF YOU LOVE BORGES". And I do, I always do.]