Thirteen Ways of Looking at HTMLGiant (by Dan Coffey)

13 htmlgiant2

click on image for more dynamic version– Yeah !!!


after I’d tweeted

happy/sad/elated that htmlgiant’s closing??? … send me obituaries/goodbye notes, etc … i’ll publish most of them (i think)….

Dan Coffey sent me the following poem:


Thirteen Ways of Looking at HTMLGiant



Among twenty=seven letters,

The only playable tile

Was the Scrabble blank.



I was of three heads,

Like a dog

You know which kind and what I guarded.



The gyre whirled and whirled toward the Jacuzzi.

We all got pantsed.


Behind the Scenes / No Comments
October 15th, 2014 / 9:41 pm

why was the ‘mean monday/justin taylor’ post taken down

EDIT: no but for real, i’m not trying to be cute/passive aggressive/faux confrontational like people in the comments, i really want to know.

Random / 72 Comments
October 15th, 2014 / 5:02 pm


25 Points: Ozma of Oz

Ozma of Oz
by L. Frank Baum
HarperCollins, 1989
272 pages / $6.95 buy from Amazon

1. This past year, my 5-year-old has been obsessed with me reading The Wizard of Oz to her over and over and over. While I have loved that book for decades, I reveal to her it is a series – there are more!

2. So we begin book two in the Oz series, The Marvelous Land of Oz. Which turns out to not be marvelous. “Where is Dorothy?” my daughter asks. In fact, Dorothy is nowhere to be found. Instead of Dorothy, there is a sorceress who is trying to force her ward Tip to drink a potion that will turn him into a statue. The sorceress is kind of scary.

3. Though the sorceress is not why we stop reading the book.

4. We stop reading when the ridiculous all-girl Army of Revolt storms the Emerald City, making the men mind the children and do the housework, only to get scared off by mice.

5. We move onto Treasure Island which I realize, early on, is not appropriate for a 5-year-old because of large quantities of murder and rum, finally settling upon Pippi Longstocking which, despite the heroine’s coffee habit and dead parents, appears a good fit. Then it is back to The Wizard of Oz.

6. Then instead of rereading The Wizard of Oz again, I suggest why don’t we try book three in the series (Ozma of Oz). The book is #83 on the School Library Journal’s list of the best children’s novels ever. Unsurprisingly, The Marvelous Land of Oz is not on the list. Still, I am nervous, making my daughter nervous. Reading bad books is an awful experience, but reading bad books aloud to your child is much worse, as it takes longer and skimming is difficult to do.

7. In the case of Ozma of Oz, There was no need to be nervous. It turns out I love this book. I have loved this book. This is the book with the lunch-box tree. “The tree seemed to bear all the year around, for there were lunch-box blossoms on some of the branches, and on others tiny little lunch-boxes that were as yet quite green, and evidently not fit to eat until they had brown bigger. The leaves of this tree were all paper napkins, and it presented a very pleasing appearance to the hungry little girl.” Inside the lunch-box was, “nicely wrapped in white papers, a ham sandwich, a piece of sponge-cake, a pickle, a slice of new cheese and an apple. Each thing had a separate stem, and so had to be picked off the side of the box…”

8. But the tin dinner-pail tree is even better. The dinner-pails grew on another tree and inside each pail was a thermos of lemonade, plus “three slices of turkey, two slices of cold tongue, some lobster salad, four slices of bread and butter, a small custard pie, an orange and nine large strawberries, and some nuts and raisins. Singularly enough, the nuts in this dinner-pail grew already cracked, so that Dorothy had no trouble in picking out their meats to eat.” I remember these trees. These trees are one of the most vivid memories of reading I can recall as a child.

9. I think it was a tragedy of extreme proportions to the child-me that such trees were nowhere to be seen in my Chicagoland home. The lack of such trees was proof that there had been some mistake and that I was living in the wrong world.

10. This is also the book with Princess Langwidere who has a room full of velvet lined cupboards and, inside each cabinet, is a different head that she can put on or take off whenever she likes. Unfortunately, when Dorothy is visiting, the princess puts on the mean head.


1 Comment
October 15th, 2014 / 12:58 pm

Forgot about this one.

This Isn’t Easy for Me by Julian Berengaut

TIEFM 3DJulian Berengaut’s new novel, This Isn’t Easy for Me, a story told entirely in dialogue, is available today. Jen Michalski had some nice words for it:

“In Julian Berengaut’s This Isn’t Easy for Me, two strangers—Sabine, a German physicist, and Renata, an economist and philanthropist—meet for tea, one with a confession, the other a proposition. What follows is not a novel, but a conversation—a conversation that becomes more than a novel. It is a sweeping look at history, love and relationships, science, mathematics, and most importantly, women. Berengaut has written Sabine and Renata with as much tenderness, respect, and understanding as any woman writer.”
Jen Michalski, The Tide King and Could You Be With Her Now

So did Linda Franklin:

“… here’s a book for people who love language. Language of literature, but also of physics, history, and the tangles you make with the daily news and private memories. Inside here is sex and sin and religion and dietary restrictions. This Isn’t Easy for Me is also for people who wish they could let their minds go wild—because by the end of the book, they will. From Conan Doyle to Pushkin, from Diderot to Godel, from Jewish jokes to Dumas to the Bible to Babel, bring some sticky notes for this lively marathon conversation between two learned women, so you can jot all the words, books, and your own ideas that you’ll want to follow up on later. The only problem here is that, as much as wish you could be, you aren’t there to join in.”
Linda Franklin, Barkinglips

Author Spotlight / 4 Comments
October 14th, 2014 / 1:36 pm


Formerly Anonymous Review: Zone

by Mathias Énard
Open Letter Books, 2010
517 pages / $16.95 buy from Open Letter Books
Rating: 8.0

A French-born Croatian boards a train in Milan. He stows an overfull suitcase beside his seat. He’s hungover, buzzed on amphetamines, and pursued by ghosts. Outside, it’s raining and cool. As the train leaves the station, this Croat, Francis Servain Mirković, an analyst in the French Intelligence, begins to mine the incriminating documents he carries. And as he does, he begins to melt into the Zone. The following ten chapters, spanning 500 odd pages, unravel in a single breath.


The Zone


Mathias Énard, the brilliant French novelist, and winner of the Prix Decembré, employs no periods or paragraph breaks in his astounding Zone, published in 2010 by Open Letter Books. And while the novel is framed by this train ride (Milan to Rome), the inevitable plotlines recall the desperate noir of Jim Thompson, with more than a hint of László Krasznahorkai.

Énard’s  “Zone” is vaguely the territory between Tangier and Beirut, (“Ceuta, Oran, Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, Benghazi, Alexandria, Port Said, Jaffa, Acre, Tyre, Sidon,/ or else Valencia, Barcelona, Marseille, Genoa, Venice, Dubrovnik, Durres, Athens, Salonika, Constantinople, Antalya, Lattakiyah,/ or else Palma, Cagliari, Syracuse, Heraklion, Larnaka”) otherwise called the Mediterranean world, “A complex of seas…broken up by islands, interrupted by peninsulas, ringed by intricate coastlines” (Fernand Braudel); and definitively a landscape of despair, “here the mud is made from our tears.”(Charles Baudelaire)

As the spy retrieves his documents, Énard charts the history of twentieth century authoritarian violence across the Mediterranean/ Middle East. And from Ustashi’s, to Falangists, to the Baathists of Aleppo, this history is brutal.

Although Énard lays down boundaries and identifies this Zone of despair, he does not presume exceptionalism.

Instead, he emphasizes the extent to which the violence across the Zone conforms to a global system of violence, specifically highlighting the wars in the Balkans, Lebanon, and the occupied territories.  Like J.G. Ballard’s terrific War Fever, he identifies these proxy wars as a predictable symptom of the current world order. Its no coincidence they play out far from the centers of global power. His observations echo Baudrillard, who famously suggested the prisons complexes of the United States obscure the inherently carceral character of contemporary American society.

When you knock around a lot of libraries, you end up reading a lot of the same. Zone is not that. Like Krasznahorkai, or Danielewski, Énard moves in darkness and depth, and he comes up with something exceptional.

1 Comment
October 14th, 2014 / 12:00 pm

Quilts (Part 1)

These are collages I made in 2012 and 2013. They were made with paper, tape, and an x-acto knife with a swivel blade. They all measure 12×12″. Click on images to enlarge.

For previous coverage of quilts on HTMLGiant, please see David Fishkind’s thoughtful post from April, 2013.

I’ll post part 2 next week.

tumblr_mmubajgQNW1qd7mryo1_1280 READ MORE >

Contributor Things / 2 Comments
October 13th, 2014 / 12:14 pm