cdmom dies

All good things must come to an end. I’ve decided to shut down the CD Mix of the Month Club. The March trade will be the last.
What began as a lark in November 2001 has grown beyond my wildest dreams. By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, 1,342 CDs have been traded in the last five months alone. The site has twice been the Link of the Day at MSN. It’s even been mentioned in the New York Times.
But it’s time. As you might imagine, it can be an incredible pain in the ass to arrange 100-plus CD trades every month. Just printing liner notes and folding them into their CD cases takes hours — not to mention addressing envelopes, matching CDs, licking stamps, maintaining the database, and dealing with dozens of emails a day. The upshot is that I haven’t even had time to listen to any of the mixes I’ve received for months. That doesn’t exactly go with the spirit of the trade.
There are also a few immediate reasons for the shutdown. I’m in a very busy period at work, and that won’t change for a while. And for whatever reason, traders were substantially less generous with financial donations this month than in the past. In a typical month, I break even on cost or else spend only $10 or $20 more than I receive. This month I had to pay about $100 out of my pocket, just to buy postage and supplies. That’s obviously not sustainable.
But honestly, I’d probably be killing it off even if cash was flowing in. It’s just time to do other things.
I have to extend major thanks to three people without whom this would have died off some months ago: Matt, Thomas, and Amanda. Those three volunteered to take over the most time-intensive single task each month, actually burning the CDs. (I’ve got a slooooow burner.)
And major thanks to all the traders out there. I’ve gotten some great music from you guys, and I hope you’ve enjoyed what I’ve offered up. Keep in touch, people.
So, whether you’ve traded before or if you’re new to all this, by all means sign up for the March trade, which will proceed as normal. The deadline isn’t until March 17.

mister rogers dies

Mister Rogers at Dartmouth.
I’d like to give you all an invisible gift. A gift of a silent minute to think about those who have helped you become who you are today. Some of them may be here right now. Some may be far away. Some, like my astronomy professor, may even be in Heaven. But wherever they are, if they’ve loved you and encouraged you and wanted what was best in life for you, they’re right inside yourself. And I feel that you deserve quiet time on this special occasion to devote some thought to them. So let’s just take a minute in honor of those who have cared about us all along the way. One silent minute.
Whomever you’ve been thinking about, imagine how grateful they must be that during your silent times you remember how important they are to you. It’s not the honors and the prizes and the fancy outsides of life which ultimately nourish our souls. It’s the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth, that the bedrock of our lives from which we make our choices is very good stuff.

fametracker on gq

Fametracker is always best when it’s hopelessly bitter.
On a “what the stars drive” feature in this month’s GQ: One of the people featured showing off his car is Neal Moritz, producer of The Fast and the Furious and XXX. Two excerpts from his answers: ‘I’m addicted to Range Rovers’ and ‘I’m a pretty big fan of money.’ Amazing. You’ve never heard of this man before, but just twelve words later, you already think he’s an asshole.
On another story in the issue: It’s about an assistant who used to work at GQ, then he sold a screenplay. It’s readable and enjoyable. On the downside, it’s written in that flip-literate style that’s so popular these days, as evidenced by the thousands of novels/memoirs about young singles working lower-rung jobs in the New York media, biding their time until they can quit and write a flip-literate novel/memoir about their time working in the New York media. Oh, and navigating that crazy Manhattan singles scene! It’s crazy! Who did I just wake up with?!

washington post novel diss

Ouch, ouch, ouch.
I am on the phone with Robert Burrows, author of the recently published political novel Great American Parade. This book has sold only 400 copies nationwide, and Burrows seems flabbergasted to be hearing from me. The most prestigious newspaper to have shown any interest so far is the Daily Student at Indiana University.
I tell Burrows that if he is willing to submit to an interview, I am willing to review his book at length in The Washington Post. The only catch, I said, is that I am going to say that it is, in my professional judgment, the worst novel ever published in the English language.
“My review will reach 2 million people,” I said.
“Okay,” he said.
I have said this before, and I’ll say it again. I really love my job.

weather taks story

Here’s my story from today’s paper, on the postponement of the state’s new standardized test because of North Texas’ wintry weather.
Has anyone ever used the word “wintry” in front of any word other than “weather”? I don’t think so.
As someone who lived in Connecticut and Ohio from 1993 to 2000, I can vouch that the roads here in Dallas are a mess. Up north, cities can deal with this storm fine, but Dallas doesn’t seem to believe in salting or plowing. So every downtown road and every freeway is just a frozen sheet of ice. I’ve skidded out five times in the last 36 hours. At least it gave me an excuse to order in Chinese last night.
This may be the most boring post in history. Apologies.