Tag Archives: Jonathan Franzen

“My Whole Brain is Crying!”

Imagine that I have been the janitor for the past three-plus days. But I’m back now, so let’s get to it. (If I could come to with Alison Brie lying next to me, I’d totally allow myself to get chloroformed.)


Honestly, there’s nothing good coming out this weekend. Secretariat? Pass – the horse won the Triple Crown; I don’t need a movie about the humans involved. Life as We Know It? I’m not sure I’d see this movie even if Katherine Heigl was naked the whole time. That’s a lie – of course I would. But I’d bring headphones to the theater so I wouldn’t have to listen to her speak. Do yourself a favor and go see one of these instead: Easy A, The Town, Let Me In or The Social Network.


Pittsburgh visits South Bend to take on the Irish in a game that better end up running Notre Dame’s record to 3-3. Notre Dame’s victim last week, Boston College, visits Raleigh to take on N.C. State – Go Pack! Texas gets a week off to lick their wounds – they play at #7 Nebraska next Saturday. And in a game that looks watchable regardless of who you root for or against, undefeated #18 Michigan State visits Ann Arbor to take on undefeated #17 Michigan. Personally, I hope the Spartans can pull out a win because I like underdogs and I’m scared of wolverines – they’re ugly and mean.

The Patriots have their bye this week, but Randy Moss has to wait for his week off as he was traded to the Vikings Wednesday (more on this tomorrow). Most of the NFL match-ups this weekend are pretty awful – Tampa Bay v. Cincinnati, St. Louis v. Detroit, Chicago v. Carolina? Woof.


Back by popular demand! Seriously.


  • I mentioned the hi-jinx involving Jonathan Franzen’s glasses on Monday. The situation has been resolved, and the ransom was not paid. You heard me.
  • If you’ve watched any of baseball’s Division Series you may have caught a glimpse of Coco’s blimp.
  • If you live in the NYC area, I think you should go see this cafĂ©.
  • And finally, just because I can:


Am I allowed to ask for this for Christmas?

I’ll be posting over the weekend, so stop by and learn about the real world, son.




I am lazy and I am pressed for time. Therefore, one post with a bit of everything. And before I forget, I may or may not be tweeting during tonight’s Patriots v. Dolphins game. If I am you should follow me because I’m sleep-deprived and a little cranky. Should be entertaining… for you, for once.


Another rather unpleasant Saturday for The Offending Party. Notre Dame did manage to beat Boston College to improve to 2-3. N.C. State decided to stop playing defense in the second half of their game against Virginia Tech, which they lost 41-30. The ‘Horns gave it their best shot against the got-dammed Sooners, but to no avail (I think either I picked the wrong season to become a Longhorns fan, or Texas is trying to tell me they neither need nor want my fandom). Boise State beat whatever scrub team they played 59-0 and still fell in the polls. Because there’s a conspiracy in college football to keep non-major conference teams out of the national championship, you see. Finally, Duke lost to Maryland because Duke is f*cking horrible.

Box Office

That The Social Network made $22.4 million over the weekend is not a surprise; that Let Me In only made $5.1 million (less than that Zellweger piece o’ shit Case 39!) is a surprise. I guess no one wanted to see Hit Girl feed on humans.

Out of Control Fans of Literature

I don’t know where Jonathan Franzen happened to be when this happened to him, but WTF? I bet it was Canada – they have this staid and polite reputation, but have you seen them drink?

The New Pornographers

Catchy songs, Neko Case and a band name that gets their shows canceled (seriously). Check, check and check. Enjoy:


Sorry for the inactivity yesterday – what can I say? I’m lazy, and I didn’t feel like writing/searching for puppy photos/doing anything even vaguely constructive. It’s not like I get paid to do this…


There are a few promising movies coming out tomorrow (in the U.S. – sorry Yael!) that look, at the very least, more interesting than the football game the Raleigh area will be shown at 4 PM (oh, almost literally the rest of the country, how I envy you):

  • Easy A – Emma Stone and the son from Cougar Town star in some sort of high school sex comedy based loosely on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter. Rotten Tomatoes has it sitting at 83% fresh as of Friday morning – not too shabby. Also, Emma Stone = cute.
  • The Town – Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner and the hot blond from Gossip Girl star in Affleck’s second directorial effort. It’s set in Boston – I know, you’re shocked. However, Renner was fantastic in The Hurt Locker, Gone Baby Gone (Affleck’s directorial debut) was a great movie, Blake Lively is hot, and RT has it at 92% fresh (as of Friday morning). All in all, I can think of far worse ways to spend $10.
  • Catfish – Probably not playing in your area, but I saw the trailer about a month ago and it looks very intriguing. Listed as a documentary, my impression is the filmmakers ended up with a very different movie than the one they intended to make:
  • Devil – “From the mind of M. Night Shyamalan.” If that phrase doesn’t make you want to run screaming in the opposite direction, you might be reading the wrong blog.


  • The cast of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory received a hefty pay raise this week. Although, I’m not entirely sure why – this show is painfully unfunny. Don’t believe me? Try watching it without the ubiquitous laugh-track to prompt you:
  • You want funny? Modern Family debuts next Wednesday at 9:00 PM on ABC and Community debuts next Thursday at 8:00 PM on NBC. The Offending Party is partial to the latter, but agrees the former is quite funny, as well. Also, hot girls.
  • Oprah, in her “farewell season” (thank Jebus), has apparently decided to revive her Book Club. Her selection? None other than Mr. Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. You can read my take on his excellent novel here. You can read his take on the first time Oprah tried to do this in his non-fiction book How to be Alone.

That’s all for now, sports fans. Enjoy your Thursday afternoon – I’ll be back later today with… whatever pops into my head between now and then.

Big. Serious. Book. Review?

Cover of "Freedom: A Novel"

Cover of Freedom: A Novel

It’s funny: I’ve spent the waking part of the past 36 hours adding small and hopefully clever touches to this new blog of mine, little pieces of jack-assery and whatnot, and my first post is apparently going to be about a novel. A Big Serious Novel written by an Important Author. Of course, I’m referring to Freedom, the latest from Mr. Jonathan Franzen.

(Now’s as good a time as any to say SPOILER. If you haven’t read the book, consider not reading any further. Although I very much doubt anything in this post is going to spoil your enjoyment of it, you’ve been warned nonetheless.)

I admit three things regarding the author and his novels: 1) I did not immediately love The Corrections; 2) In what little I’ve read about the author (interviews, his non-fiction book How to be Alone, etc.) he strikes me as being an amazing asshole; and 3) I remain in awe of this man’s talent as a writer. I cannot think of any other author alive (or dead, for that matter, but that’s because I can’t think, not because s/he doesn’t exist) who has the literary tools to create dynamic and fully formed characters the way Franzen can and does in Freedom. I finished the novel knowing more about Patty and Walter Berglund than I do about myself, and that’s not hyperbole. That’s a combination of superior craftsmanship on Franzen’s part and woefully scant self-awareness on mine.

I either refuse to or am unable to properly review this or any other novel. What I will do is make three observations:

  1. The language is overtly intellectual, but I only had to look up one word in the dictionary over the course of the novel’s 500+ pages. (And, no, I don’t remember what is was, so it was obviously a crappy word.)
  2. Richard Katz is perhaps the most awesome authorial stand-in I’ve ever encountered. He bangs lots of hot, young chicks! But he’s sad and misunderstood and pining away for the one woman he cannot have. He bangs her anyway and delivers some of the novel’s best lines of dialogue! But he’s an aging rocker destined to be alone with his music. His award-winning, money-making music. Perhaps now is the time to remind you that Franzen won the National Book Award and sleeps on piles of $100 bills. Asshole.
  3. I fully expect not to read another novel this engaging, this smart, this funny or this satisfying until Franzen releases his next novel. Which better be a hell of lot sooner than a decade from now.