weasel, pencil

Best crabwalk.com-related email I’ve gotten in a long while:
This may sound like a very strange request but I was wondering if you could settle a bet for me? I was wondering if you could tell me whether the weasel in the picture on your website is holding a pencil just out of shot? Strange request I know but me and a few friends got talking about it and a stupid bet was made which we need sorted.
For the record, no.

perry story, myskina naked

More proof of continued employment: Here’s my story from today’s front page. Those uninterested in the equity minutiae of incentivizing public school finance via achievement levels are advised to move along sans click. (Actually, I only wrote the second half of it, roughly.)
By the way, I should point out that all that “anastasia myskina naked” talk a few posts back has paid off — Google has been sending me about 150 extra visitors every day, most of them searching for some combination of those words. Welcome, pornhounds!

josh marshall in new yorker

Josh Marshall has a good, interesting piece in this week’s New Yorker about literary visions of empire, and whether modern-day America fits the definition.
It’s funny to see the same writer’s style shoehorned into different venues. On his blog, Marshall has a loose style, albeit with the sort of logical argument flow you’d expect from someone with an opinion journal background. His stuff for the Washington Monthly follows along the same lines. But this New Yorker piece has that straightjacket feel that all New Yorker pieces have. You can almost imagine him hovering over each word, wondering: “Is that too conversational? Does that phrase sound too much like something a human being might actually say? Can I stuff another clause to this sentence?”
Not that there’s anything wrong with the New Yorker house style — David Remnick, if you’re reading this, I’m available!
Speaking of Washington Monthly, a funny piece about being Bill Clinton’s head joke writer.

chanda loses again

Sadly, Chanda’s run comes to an ignominious end, losing 6-7, 6-2, 6-2 to suspected Chechen war criminal Anastasia Myskina. It was actually worse than the score indicates: Chanda jumped out 4-0 in the first set but was outgamed 18-7 from there on out.
If this storyline seems familiar, it’s because Chanda lost to the same Wretched Russian in the same round last year. Exactly 360 days ago, to be precise.
So Katie, you can start reading again.

thermals new album

Looks like the Thermals have recorded their second album, to be released in May. Their last one was great, amateurish fun — imagine early Guided By Voices, but faster, punkier, and less weird. In an alternate universe where Green Day went to college and majored in semiotics, they’d sound like the Thermals. (MP3 of “No Culture Icons,” one of the slower songs on the album, here.)
In their brief recording history, the band has been defined by its production values, of which there are basically none. The first album, More Parts Per Million, was allegedly recorded for the grand total of $60, and it sounds like it. We’re talking lower than lo-fi — some tracks sound like they were recorded on a boom box. So I’m really interested to see what they do on this album, which was recorded by Death Cab‘s Chris Walla — if anything, a man criticized for overproducing records and sapping out energy with layers of polish. (I don’t necessarily agree with those criticisms, but they’re out there.) Should be interesting.