Friday finds

In search of the origins of Bob Dylan’s accent. That clip above, by the way, is “Sugar Baby” as done by His Bobness earlier this month in Portland. Normally, Dylan in concert lifts his harmonica for the same reason a stripper lifts her skirt — it always gets a cheer from the audience. In this version, the harmonica gets some real quality time. And this post celebrates the top ten wonderfully weird Dylan performances, including a duet with Jack White. I particularly like the rendition of “Dancing in the Dark” from the legendary Toad’s Place show.

A celebrated film critic blogs about his life with books.

Joyce Carol Oates on Shirley Jackson.

Why Photoshop is a mixed blessing.

“I tried writing novels as a young man and I didn’t like my novels very much. And by the way, neither did anyone else. So I went to California eventually to seek my fortune and try and get into the movie business. And I was lucky. I started to make some progress. And then just as I was starting to have stuff produced, the Writers Guild did go on strike. This was back in 1972 or ‘73, I think. And I was sharing digs with a young woman who said, “Well now, since you’re not allowed to write screenplays, you can write that book you are always talking about.” And that book was my fanciful notion of a Sherlock Holmes adventure, in which Holmes met and joined forces intellectually as well as narratively with Sigmund Freud. And there really wasn’t any good reason at that point not to try doing it.”

How the use of antique words in fiction can be the equivalent of the Easter Eggs embedded in many DVDs.

“Clark Kerr, the president of the University of California from 1958 to 1967, used to describe his job as providing sex for the students, car parking for the faculty and football for the alumni. But what happens when the natural order is disrupted by faculty members who, on parking their cars, head for the students’ bedrooms?”

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