“I can eat a cookie in front of a kid and the kid won’t know.”

Walter J. Wood — also known as Santa Woody — is a Phoenix-area Kris Kringle who looks like something out of a holiday Coca-Cola ad. The $100 an hour he charges “really doesn’t recoup the costs,” he said, especially when you take into account gas, travel time and the expense of miscellaneous items like beard glue.

“I glue my beard on — no one else does that,” said Wood, whose other job as a painting contractor also hasn’t had much success this year. “I can eat a cookie in front of a kid and the kid won’t know.”

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December 20th, 2010 / 3:08 pm

Cultural Masturbation

If you want to go to a very lonely place, find the Cultural Criticism section of your local bookstore. No one is ever there, it seems, except for the occasional confused student staring at the placard– Cultural Criticism?— wondering what it could mean and forgetting that he is actually looking for Joan Didion’s The White Album. But if you find yourself in this dusty corner, you could do worse than pick up Will Self‘s Junk Mail. It’s a collection of nonfiction and journalism he published over the 90’s and 00’s. There’s an essay about London crack houses, another about Woody Allen and Jewish comedy, and many others including one about artist Damien Hirst in which you will find this question:

“Is it better to masturbate over the image of the Emperor if he has no clothes on, or is it preferable to stimulate yourself discreetly knowing that he is tightly sheathed?”

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February 4th, 2010 / 11:40 pm

Paige Williams, a journalist, wrote a fascinating story about Dolly Freed–author of the off-grid classic Possum Living which has been reissued by Tin House this month. Paige self-published the story after many rejections and is accepting donations. I chipped in. I’m sure you’ll want to, too. ::: Tom McCarthy, author of remainder, on David Lynch’s films. Excellent thoughts. ::: And a half-good, half-Wall-Street-Journal Wall Street Journal piece on the state of the slush pile.