A volunteer at a community radio station set fire to the station because he was upset that his song selections for an overnight Internet broadcast were changed, police said.
Paul Webster Feinstein, 24, has been charged with second-degree felony arson for the January 5 fire that caused $300,000 damage to the studios of 91.7 FM KOOP. He faces from two to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.
Feinstein told investigators that he was "very unhappy" about the changes to his playlist, said Austin Fire Department Battalion Chief Greg Nye. The songs were intended for an Internet broadcast that occurs when the station is off the air.
Wait, here's the best part:
Feinstein was a jazz fan and his Internet program was called "Mellow Down Easy," Dickens said.
I hear your pleas for me to name the book I mentioned, to make book recommendations, to come out and play some more. I hear them and I will comply. Check back on Monday. I may have two books to recommend.
A week ago, I found a page in an old notebook on which I'd listed the books I'd read by date finished in 2004 and 2005. By this day in 2004 I had already read 6 books. Eight in 2005. As of last weekend, 0 in 2008. That's why I went quiet here. I needed to find time to not just put a tally in my "books read" scorecard, but to get back to that happy place which is being somewhere between "once upon a time" and "the end". So congrats to me, on January 25th, I did it. Read to the end of a rather good novel. And it fueled me just enough to pick up and nearly finish a second.
So that's why I stayed away from here. But then I realized that I also needed to have this space, because without Syntax of Things I can't really tell you about these books, or that song, or the fact that I'm slowly learning every theme song to every kid's TV show.
There may be more silence to come. I have to find an equilibrium. It'll take some time.
I needed a song for my moping, so I dug around the iTunes library and came across Neutral Milk Hotel's "Snow Song Pt. I" from their 1995 EP "Everything Is." Seems to fit the mood quite well especially considering that the word snow doesn't appear at all in the song.
And in case you've spent this much of your life so far without familiarizing yourself with Neutral Milk Hotel, get yourself to your local record store and buy In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. You'll be a better person because of it.
I'm sitting here moping. For the last twenty-four hours we've been under a Winter Weather Warning here in Raleigh and the forecasters were saying that we could see up to six inches of snow. I've not seen much snow in my life, so I woke up this morning more excited than a kid with a cupful of tokens at Chuck E. Cheese's and waited for the rain to change over to the white stuff. 10am...11am...noon...rain. Then around 3 I started seeing flakes but nothing was sticking. Snowed fairly hard for a while but just enough to coat the ground a little. Now it's 7pm and the snow is tapering off. Should turn cold and keep what we did get around for tomorrow but it'll take too much work to build up a snowman, though the writing in the snow that I've been looking forward to doing since yesterday should still be possible. Maybe we'll get lucky and another burst of the white still will come through and put us over the 1" mark, but I doubt it.
Anyway, I can't bear to look out the window anymore so I decided to play around on YouTube and came across this video of writer Silas House reading a tribute to Larry Brown. This took place at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in November. Reminded me that I still have to read A Miracle of Catfish. Honestly, I can't believe how long I've been saying that. Here's the video:
Wouldn't you know that the day I was to celebrate my half-millionth visitor that something would mess it all up. I heard from a concerned reader that she was having trouble getting the site to open and sure enough, when I checked, it would load so far and then nothing. That's what I get for trying to celebrate. Anyway, I think it's fixed now. Wish I were.
To pay you back for your patience, here's a photo of Harper Lee and Truman Capote I've been meaning to post (via the great photo site if charlie parker was a gunslinger, there'd be a whole lot of dead copycats). It really has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that every once in a while I like to celebrate Alabamian done good. And I even imagine this happening in a living room in Monroeville, which makes sense if you look at the decor.
At some point in the next 24 hours, Syntax of Things will pass the unofficially official 500,000 visitors point. I say unofficially because I didn't put an accurate stat counter on here until some months after I started the site, but of course, in those early days, daily visits included me, my brother, my wife, and the random google search for "Janet Jackson's nipple."
Since I don't really have time or even know how to figure out exactly who will be my half-millionth visitor, why not let's say that it's you, the person reading this right now. Congrats.
Some of you may remember John Ziegler, the talk-show host whom David Foster Wallace profiled in his essay "Host". Well, Ziegler left KFI in November, a move at the time he said was so that he could begin work on a documentary, but now it's clear that he was forced out and he ain't too happy about it.
"Drinking is an emotional thing. It joggles you out of the standardism of everyday life, out of everything being the same. It yanks you out of your body and your mind and throws you against the wall. I have the feeling that drinking is a form of suicide where you're allowed to return to life and begin all over the next day. It's like killing yourself, and then you're reborn. I guess I've lived about ten or fifteen thousand lives now."--Charles Bukowski, who is part of Alternative Reel's Top Ten Drunk American Writers. Any guess as to where he ranks?
If you've never picked up a Pylon album, you're missing out on something truly amazing. And plenty of you have...
My little piece of Pylon history: I saw them open for REM on the Green tour. It was in Tallahassee. They made it through about half the set when we saw the drummer disappear behind his set. Come to find out, he broke a bone and couldn't finish the set. Probably an urban legend, but I know that they only played about three songs before they were done.
What does it say about the state of one's present condition when he (or she) uses the Internet to confirm that he (or she) did indeed spot a factual error on Sesame Street? And the fact that this was perhaps the most intellectual stimulating thing he (or she) has done in a couple of days.
Although I'm about half finished (or half started depending on your attitude) with a post that I think will make me happy when/if it ever makes it live, there's really too much going on in the paying job world to do much of value around these parts. That doesn't mean I don't read essays like David Payne's in the new Oxford American and wish I could set aside my Excel and Access and dedicate a few hours to nothing but volunteer work on behalf of the blogosphere. But volunteer work won't buy Marlie another book of reusable stickers to keep her entertained while we dine at the cheap Asian cafe. Anyway, Payne makes some nice points in his article, a snippet of which is below, about how although Southern writers have long been considered among the best, they have become marginalized in the big publishing picture. If one wants to compare it to Rap, it would be a respect thing akin to East Coast/West Coast. He feels Southern writers ultimately don't get the respect they deserve with the end result being that many Southerners (Richard Ford) end up selling out and writing about things non-Southern or perhaps in ways typically not associated with being Southern. Anyway, take a look and read for yourself:
While it’s true that a half-century ago a galaxy of celebrated Southern writers—Capote, Welty, Faulkner, Williams, Harper Lee, O’Connor, and others—enjoyed cachet in the North; and though once a generation or so along comes a Gone With the Wind or a Cold Mountain, the fate of a writer like Lee Smith remains more typical. Author of the masterly Fair and Tender Ladies, Smith has a large, devoted audience in the Southeast, yet after a dozen novels, her reputation and readership continue to plummet north of Washington, D.C.
Smith’s latest book sets the pattern: Upon its publication in 2006, On Agate Hill, a novel situated in and around Hillsborough, North Carolina, shot to No. 1 on the Southern Independent Bookseller Alliance (SIBA) best-seller list and remained there for weeks. During that time, it never appeared on any of the seven other regional lists around the country. By contrast, Anna Quindlen’s concurrently published Rise and Shine, with a Bronx setting, appeared throughout its run in high positions on all eight lists, including SIBA. Both trajectories are typical for established writers from their respective regions: that is, Southern writers are “regional”; Northern writers, “national.” And what’s true of Smith and Quindlen today was also true of Faulkner and Hemingway in their primes.
Is human experience in the South a specialized and limited affair, relevant only to other Southerners, while life in the Bronx is “universal” and relevant to all, including Southerners? And, if not, what accounts for the confinement of Southern writers to region.
My suspicion is that economics plays a larger role than generally acknowledged in the assignment of literary status in this country. The population of the eleven states of the former Confederacy accounts for around thirty percent of the U.S. total. Every one of those states, except Virginia, is below the national average in per capita and median household income. Right out of the starting gate, then, Smith and other Southern writers play to a potential audience not quite a third the size that a “national” writer might reach, and a poorer audience at that.
I don't know about you, but I think if I were to witness this unawares, I'd start looking for the nearest bunker to crawl under:
At Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne, iguanas fell out of trees Thursday. The cold-blooded reptiles go into a sort of hibernation when temperatures get too low, even if they are perched in branches. Most woke up when the weather warmed later in the day.
If you're like me and tired of trying to figure out how a work inbox could go from the low 1000s to near 6000 (mix of read and un-) in a matter of days despite the fact that everyone knew you were away from the office, then step away from the ledge and instead of thowing your coffee mug against the wall, take a look around the British Library's Database of Bookbinding. Hit reselect often.
Tom Wolfe is back at it again, but this time he'll be giving us his fresh as my cat's litter box perspective on American contemporary cliches--not to mention an early favorite for 2009's Bad Sex in Fiction prize--courtesy of a new publisher:
His new novel, "Back to Blood," will be a "Bonfire"-like tour of Miami, taking on "class, family, wealth, race, crime, sex, corruption, and ambition." Among the characters: a Cuban nurse married to a French sex doctor, a Haitian woman "who passes for Anglo" and "a freshman journalist on the trail of a Russian-mob-comes-to-Miami story."
Publication is scheduled for 2009.
Wolfe had been with Farrar, Straus since 1965 and the release of his first book, "The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby." His work has sold millions of copies, but his most recent novel, "I Am Charlotte Simmons," was a critical and commercial disappointment.
According to a publishing official familiar with negotiations, Farrar, Straus and Wolfe could not agree on a new contract: Having lost money on "Charlotte Simmons," the publisher was offering a reduced advance for "Back to Blood."