Monthly Archives: September 2006

September 29, 2006

I am so, so excited for today.

Because today is the 184th anniversary of the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Yes, it was on September 29, 1822 that Jean-François Champollion published his Lettre à M. Dacier, setting forth his (correct) arguments that the ancient Egyptians used a phonetically based writing system.


He built on the work of Thomas Young, among others, but it is Champollion who is generally credited with breaking the code.

Thank God I have events like this to give my life meaning.

Because if I were confined to Organic Potato Day I don’t know what the fuck I’d do.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 10 Comments

September 22, 2006

On July 3, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson died, at the age of 52, of complications of breast cancer. She was the greatest classical singer of our day, and I count myself among the luckiest of men to have been able to hear her perform live.

There is a tribute to her in this week’s New Yorker, as well as an audio commentary that includes clips of some of her recordings. This is not her first appearance in The New Yorker; a profile of her in 2004 got it exactly right.

I cried on and off for the whole day when I heard that she’d died; I still haven’t gotten over it. Thank God she recorded as much as she did.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 8 Comments

September 20, 2006

Last night E.S. and I were talking about a friend of his and her husband, who is going through a rough patch. E.S. said he was going to go over to their apartment and do a motivational interview. Then we had the following exchange:

FAUSTUS: What’s a motivational interview?
E.S.: It’s a Jedi mind trick psychiatrists use to further our evil plans.
FAUSTUS: Yes, but what is it?
E.S.: I can’t tell you. Then you’ll know our ways, and you’ll try to manipulate and control people all the time.
FAUSTUS: I already try to manipulate and control people all the time.
E.S.: That’s true. But if I tell you our secret you’ll be more successful at it.
FAUSTUS: So what’s the secret?
E.S.: I’m not telling.
FAUSTUS (coyly): What’s the secret, big boy?
E.S.: Nope.
FAUSTUS: You don’t love me.
E.S.: And how does that make you feel?

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 11 Comments

September 17, 2006

I did not realize when I moved to Brooklyn that it is actually another dimension and that people who entered it are at risk of turning into aliens. Now, however, this fact has been made eminently clear to me.

I just went out into the back yard, and saw E.S. whitewashing the fence.

Obviously I have to move back to Manhattan as soon as possible.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 13 Comments

September 12, 2006

From a conversation I had this morning with my therapist:

FAUSTUS: Yesterday I wrote a fan email to this singer I like in French and all I could think was, God, I wish my French were better.
DR. M.: But why?
FAUSTUS: Because then he would like me more. Which is important, because he’s really cute.
DR. M.: But don’t you think he’d be pleased? Pleased that you liked him enough to write, pleased at the compliments? And maybe admire you a little bit for being American but writing him in French?
FAUSTUS: Yes, but not as much as he admired somebody who wrote him in better French.
DR. M.: That’s an odd thought.
FAUSTUS: What planet are you from?
DR. M.: I see our time is up for today.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 16 Comments

September 7, 2006

This is the meanest lawn ornament ever.


Thanks to him for the find.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 5 Comments

September 6, 2006

Why, oh, why don’t the Armor of God Pyjamas come in my size?


Posted on by Joel Derfner | 15 Comments

September 5, 2006

I used to consider myself a reasonably intelligent person.

But the fact that it was not blindingly obvious to me years ago that this is the appropriate reaction to life has made me reconsider my opinion.

(Thanks to him for the link.)

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 6 Comments

September 1, 2006

Okay, so the kids who sell candy from 48-count boxes on the New York City subways? Usually peanut M&Ms but sometimes other stuff as well? And they used to say they were selling it to raise money for their high school basketball team, which would have been more believable if it hadn’t been 10:30 in the morning on a Tuesday? And now they say they’re not selling it to raise money for a basketball team but merely to keep themselves off the streets and get a little money in their pockets, and they’re keeping it real?

Where the fuck do they get the candy?

I mean, I’ve kind of always assumed that they steal it, but I realized today that this has been going on long enough that somebody at the warehouse should have wised up by now.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 12 Comments