William S. Burroughs quote: "The old writer couldn't write anymore because he had reached the end of words, the end of what can be done with words." -The Western Lands (1987)
Amazon SIPs - Statistically Improbable Phrases computed for this book: door dog
Key Phrases - Capitalized Phrases (CAPs): Western Lands, Land of the Dead, One God, Shining Ones, New York, Wishing Machine, Great Outhouse, Secret Name, Christian God, Doctor Whitehorn, Joe the Dead, Los Alamos, Spec Ops, Zed Barnes, Cat Coin, City of Knowledge, Gaboon Viper, Ian Sommerville, John Wayne, Kim Lee, Lady Veula, Main Street, Old West, Pariah Quarter, Rule Two
Concordance (100 most frequently used words): air always animal another area away behind black body boy cat centipede come course day dead death doctor does dog door down dream end even eyes face fear feet few find first front get give go god good got hand head himself house human ing joe keep kim know lands last leave let life light little live long look man mean move must need neferti nothing now old open pain people place put right road room say see since small smell something soul street take thing think three time turns two venom walks want water western white without words years
Text Stats - Readability:
Fog Index - 9.3 (78% of all books are harder)
Flesch Index - 67.4 (78% of all books are harder)
Flesch-Kincaid Index - 7.2 (79% of all books are harder)
Text Stats - Complexity:
Complex Words - 10% (74% of all books have more)
Syllables per Word - 1.5 (74% of all books have more)
Words per Sentence - 13.4 (69% of all books have more)
Number of Characters - 463,575 (44% of all books have more)
Number of Words - 81,363 (39% of all books have more)
Number of Sentences - 6,069 (27% of all books have more)
Words per Dollar - 6,954 (price: $11.70)
Words per Ounce - 12,108 (weight: 6.72 ounces)
♫ By the time we got to Phoenix... we had seen a pair of signs that prompted us to reply: "Well, duh."
Backyard wildlife refuge. From the National Wildlife Federation website:
Why should I garden for wildlife and certify my yard as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat site?
1 It's fun! You'll attract beautiful songbirds, cheerful butterflies and other interesting wildlife to your yard. Watching wildlife can be fun for the whole family.
2 It's relaxing! The natural environment of your habitat will provide a peaceful place to relieve stress and unwind, day or night.
3 It makes your yard more attractive! Replacing barren lawn with beautiful wildflowers and other native plants will increase the appeal of your property and will provide a nurturing place for wildlife.
4 It nurtures and supports wildlife all year! Habitat restoration is critical for wildlife where commercial and residential development has eliminated most natural areas. Wildlife especially need your help during the cold winter months.
5 It benefits the environment! Gardening practices that help wildlife, like reducing chemicals and conserving water, also help to improve air, water and soil quality throughout your neighborhood.
6 It rewards you! NWF will recognize your dedication to creating a place for wildlife in the modern world. When your habitat is certified, you'll receive a handsome, personalized Certificate of Achievement suitable for framing, recognizing your yard as part of the National Registry of Backyard Wildlife Habitat sites. With your permission, NWF will also send a prepared press release to your local newspaper announcing your certification.
7 It expands your gardening knowledge and lets you share your love of wildlife with others! Once certified, you'll receive a subscription to the quarterly newsletter, Habitats, providing you with a steady supply of tips and projects to maintain your Backyard Wildlife Habitat site year after year.
8 If your yard is certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat site, you are eligible to order and post an attractive yard sign to convey to your friends and neighbors your commitment to wildlife conservation and the environment.
9 As soon as you certify your yard or garden space, you will automatically become a member of National Wildlife Federation with full membership benefits, including a year's subscription to the award winning National Wildlife magazine.
About The Desert Quidnunc. PSL has intentionally broken the link to this posting from TDQ's right-hand menu, so I'll upload the material below. It seems somehow funnier, in retrospect...
At 08:21 January 09, 2006, Alan wrote:
FYI, quidnunc means a "nosy person; a busybody." It's Latin, or something. Go ahead, look it up.
Even though this blog appears on Palm Springs Life's website (at www.PalmSpringsLife.com/blogs), the opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of PSL's ownership, management, advertisers, relatives, friends, acquaintances, fans *or* critics.
You should probably think of The Desert Quidnunc as PSL's illegitimate sixth cousin, twice removed, who fights the valiant fight against his Tourette's Syndrome. Sometimes he wins, sometimes he loses. If you check back often enough, you might see one of his losses, before it's scrubbed squeaky clean by the PC Brigade.
But this guy is quite the curmudgeon, too: he intends to massacre sacred cows and serve them up, hot and steamy, on sesame-seed buns. BTW, your erstwhile Online Editor is Alan C. Baird (that would be me), who'll serve as ringmaster until his mouthiness gets his butt canned. The smart money is saying that's gonna happen any minute now.
Other postings might appear from time to time, signed with different names. Those folks are nice people, unlike Alan. Please give them your full and undivided attention.
[Powered by LifeType]
Live by the blog, die by the blog. New blog in the 'hood, yo. Over at PalmSpringsDeath.com. Novel-in-progress. No connection with NaNoWriMo. Possible entrant for the Blooker, if I can meet their 1/15/07 deadline...
Spoken word #13: Drinks. Tonight is the next Writers With Drinks event, in San Francisco. This sounds like my kind o' thing:
Literary ringmaster Charlie Anders insists her series of tavern-based readings is set up so that "no one's competing," but she herself is used to being up against stiff competition. "There's a guy doing a striptease on a unicycle, a guy wrestling a fish and Armistead Maupin doing a reading," she says incredulously of the options on any given Saturday night in SF. "Your [event] has to be better than fish wrestling." It's a tough standard to live up to, but over the last four years Writers With Drinks: Spoken Word Variety Show has become the event that everybody's talking about - and talking at, for that matter. Snagging appearances by big- and small-name poets, comedians and authors, Anders also strives to keep the audience diverse... According to Anders: "You can get drunk, take someone home and wake up unable to remember who you slept with - but you'll remember the readings. That's my goal." --7x7 Magazine, April 2005
Spoken word #12: Goosebumps. Tomorrow at San Marino's Huntington Library, it's an evening of thrills and chills as the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Edward Gorey come to life in candle-lit performances by the Guild of St. George.
Goosebumps guaranteed! (Ages 10 and up.)
The Great Windkeeper. This is an herbal dietary supplement, also known as "Eliminate Wind Powder" and "Powder For Dispersing Wind-Evil," that comes in the form of tiny, perfectly-round, blue teapills.
Colorful. In more ways than one.
These cute little pills, along with Ginseng Eight Combination (an herbal tea extract that tastes like mud), were prescribed for my urticaria by TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioner Isabelle Saint-Guily, who is actually French, not Chinese. She's also an Aikido Black Belt and a Reiki Master.
Yup, I've lost faith in the AMA allergists. They have no clue about what causes the hives, and they seem completely incapable of effecting a cure. They keep throwing new pills at me, none of which really work.
Isabelle diagnosed me over the phone, requesting only photos of my tongue, which I eMailed to her. Pretty unorthodox. I've known Isabelle for years, and trust her judgment in these matters, but I've never needed to ask for her medical help. Let's hope she knows what she's doing.
Spoken word #11: Interludes. Tomorrow night at Trinity Grill & Bar in Harrison, NY, it's the latest monthly installment of a bi-coastal salon of dinner and readings presented by actress/writer DeLauné Michel.
Authors Mark Kurlansky, Tess Gerritsen, Sena Jeter Naslund and Maggie Scarf read from their books.
Spoken word #10: Rhapsodomancy. Tonight at 7pm in L.A., the Rhapsodomancy reading series celebrates its 2-year anniversary, with Eloise Klein Healy, Frank X. Gaspar, Eve Wood, Wendy C. Ortiz, Andrea Quaid and Jerry Garcia.
According to World Wide Words, rhapsodomancy means "The seeking of guidance through the chance selection of a passage in literature."
Spoken word #9: Bloc. Tomorrow afternoon at 4pm in Beverly Hills' Temple Emanuel, Writers Bloc presents Harry Shearer and Steve Martin.
Woof. Spoken-word performance doesn't get any better than this...
Fear and loathing on the back nine. (This weekend marks the climax of the Samsung World Golf Championship at Bighorn.)
When cruising down the eastern slope of Coachella Valley's San Gorgonio Pass, you can't help but notice that things are beginning to get a little strange.
First, you'll see the Cabazon monsters, huge life-sized replicas of dinosaurs from the Jurassic era, sitting with eerie calm next to the freeway.
Then you'll observe, way off in the distance, what seems to be a giant berserk cigarette lighter, flashing through all the colors of the rainbow.
That's an Indian casino.
Eventually, you'll pass the windmills: hundreds and hundreds of ghostly apparitions, spinning crazily in the night.
The first time I saw those wind farms, I became convinced they were part of some weird Brobdingnagian-scale miniature golf course.
Maybe it was the lousy tequila. Or perhaps I had vaguely remembered that this parched desert valley boasts the largest number of golf courses per square inch in the history of the galaxy.
A few miles later, you'll exit the Sonny Bono Memorial Freeway at Monterey and descend into the heart of Palm Desert, which claims to be the only city in America where golf carts are street-legal.
Like that's a GOOD thing.
You'll pass El Paseo, one of the most pretentious shopping boulevards in California - perhaps second only to Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive. El Paseo proudly hosts the annual Golf Cart Parade, during which many rich links enthusiasts show off their pimped-out rides.
After El Paseo, you'll start climbing the Palms To Pines Highway up towards Idyllwild... but don't go too far. When you see a herd of fake Bighorn Sheep, standing guard on the hillside overlooking an elitist country club/residential enclave, you've arrived.
(File under: Caddyshack.)
Spoken word #8: WordTheatre. Tomorrow afternoon at 3pm, catch a celebration of 30 years of Pushcart Prize-winning stories benefiting the Pushcart Prize Fellowships.
Actor/readers include Zach Grenier, Samantha Mathis, Lorraine Toussaint, Wendy Makkena, Noah Watts and Chris McDonald.
This event will take place at Aphrodisiac, the only restaurant in Los Angeles to feature a real bedroom, where a couple can have their meal at a dining table or on a king-sized bed...
Spoken word #7: Moth. The Moth Story Tour, Out on a Limb: Stories from the Edge flies into UCLA tonight.
Hosted by Andy Borowitz (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air creator), the storyteller lineup includes Margaret Cho (comedian), Cindy Chupack (Sex and the City executive producer), Jonathan Ames, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels and Steve Osborne.
In addition, UCLA has invited David Sedaris (NPR), Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury cartoonist) and John Waters (Pink Flamingos director).
Just signed the contract. Not a BIG contract, mind you... but it feels nice to be an instructor again:
Course title - "Writing a Blog"
(Univ. of Calif. Extension, Creative Writing CRWT 828.9, Reg #063-AHC-C14)
meets Saturday, February 24, 2007, 10am-1pm, at the UCR Palm Desert Graduate Center
Spoken word #6: LiveWire. Not so long ago, SoHo (the one up in Petaluma, California) was called Zebulon's Lounge (ZL). Every Tuesday night, ZL hosted the LiveWire Literary Series.
Then ZL went out of business.
Now, SoHo hosts the LiveWire Literary Series.
But if you want to catch it, you'd better hurry - in two weeks, SoHo is going out of business...
Spoken word #5: Cornelia. Tonight, the Cornelia Street Café in Greenwich Village presents a cultural event to benefit Fly By Night Press.
Readers will include Chavisa Woods (emcee), Barbara Purcell, Cheryl Boyce Taylor, Eve Packer, Steve Dalachinsky, Yuko Otomo, Jeff Cypher Wright, Nancy Mercado, Margarita Drago, Eliot Katz, Susan Sherman, John Ferris, and Big Mike.
Spoken word #4: KGB. "The crowd loves it. Admission is free, drinks are cheap and strong, and the level of excellence is such that KGB has been named best literary venue in New York City by New York Magazine, the Village Voice, and everyone else who bestows these awards of recognition."
Tonight: Fiction with Kelly Link and Shelley Jackson.
Spoken word #3: Vermin. If you happen to be wandering through L.A.'s Chinatown tomorrow night, catch the latest installment of Vermin on the Mount, brainchild of author Jim Ruland (Big Lonesome). I once interviewed this talented guy, and still harbor a mighty envy of his Vermin poster collection.
The Sunday lineup of Vermin readers: Todd Taylor, Joe Meno, Todd Dills and Liz Ohanesian.
Spoken word #2: Litquake. San Francisco's Literary Festival (Litquake) runs from October 6-14 this year: "a mix of readings, panel discussions, themed events, and general literary mayhem [...] live events embrace the Bay Area writing community, and give fans the opportunity to hear quality literature straight from the author's mouth."
Spoken word #1: Dire. Cambridge, Massachusetts is the location for Timothy Gager's Dire Literary Series: five 15-minute open mike slots, followed by features. Friday night at 8pm, experience Elisabeth Brink and Norman Waksler, plus special guest G Emil Reutter.
Stay tuned for more spoken-word performance events from our Lit Calendar...
Paul Krassner's sit-down standup. I first saw Paul do standup at L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art, almost twenty years ago. He appeared with Peter Bergman (Firesign Theatre) and Harry Shearer (Spinal Tap, The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live). They called the performance "Peter, Paul and Harry." Hilarious stuff.
Paul approached the spotlit stool for his segment of the comedy show, carefully pulled a flimsy piece of paper from his pocket and delicately unfolded it. After a few seconds, we could see that it was one of those toilet-seat protectors from the bathroom. He flattened it onto the stool, sat down on it, and picked up the microphone: "Now I can call this PERFORMANCE art."
The audience fell on the floor, laughing.
After 9 months and 631 articles... PSL and I have gone our separate ways. Creative differences: I was creative, they were different.
No, really - it was a wonderful opportunity and we parted on amicable terms (i.e., no gunfire was exchanged).
So far, I've accepted two freelance projects, and will continue searching for the next great staff job that provides  health insurance and  fancypants business cards.