February 10, 2005

It's A Smaller World After All... It's a Smaller, Smaller....

James Lileks mentions in passing in today's Bleat

Got a call from Gerald, too: small world. You read a guy’s blog, you find his work in a Time magazine you have in your personal archives, you talk to him in California while you’re sitting in a Hilton ballroom, with the rest of the nation listening in as they shave in Hawaii or yawn in Maine. Cool world.
But he doesn't know the half of it.

Here's the back story and the finish, as seen from the other end of the cell connection in California.

This afternoon, done with some business in Los Angeles (A city that I was born in but rarely find myself in), I decide to spend some time checking out the Heritage Book Store on Melrose in the trendy-deco section of Los Angeles. I'm at this store in this district at this time because an artisan who is making a hand-bound notebook for me in Portland told me about it this morning on the phone. (That's another tale for another time.)

At any rate, her chance recommendation is the only reason I'm at the store. And it is an amazing store. Talked with a member of the staff named James about their stunning collection of first editions, got shown into the locked room where the very special first editions are kept. Talked publishing past and future, authors we knew, etc. Then I left.

I was due to meet a man whose extremely astute and funny satirical novel I published back in the 80s and whom I have not seen since. He's a novelist and filmmaker in Santa Monica and we've arranged to meet at 5 at the Casa del Mar on the beach.

Since I have time, I decide to take the slow surface route down Santa Monica Boulevard. It is, as things often are in LA, very slow. No problem, I've got time.

So there I am on a street I'm never on in a town I'm seldom in and sort of stuck in traffic. I turn on the radio and hit scan and bring in a station that I can't receive in Laguna Beach just in time to hear Hugh Hewitt say he's passing the mike to "The Northern Alliance."

"Ah ha," I think, "the uber-bloggers of Minnesota." I take a listen and as I do up pops, as is his wont, James Lileks in the mix. And these guys are just goofing around on national radio with plates crashing in the background, talking about this and about that and about... well, the abortive time last year when a few demented people, myself included, thought it might be a hoot to run Lileks for State Senator. Just as a joke, see. Just as a joke.

Only one of his publishers didn't think it was funny and the campaign folded and faded away.

So I'm on a street I'm never on, at a time I'm always at home, listening to a radio station I can't receive and hearing Lileks talk about an online goof that was so 2004. The only thing I can do is something that I never do, I call the show on the cellphone while noticing I am, once again, "lost in Los Angeles."

"Hello, I'm calling from California and I've got issues with Lileks."

"Oh, what are those issues?"

"I've got 500 Lileks for Senator lawn signs in my garage. I have them fixed to heavy sharpened stakes whose points have been dipped in garlic juice to make them handy for moonbat deletion during civil unrest. I was planning to place them all around Laguna Beach if Lileks ran for the senate in Minnesota and create the most confusing and pointless electoral campaign in Southern California history."

Then the line went dead. If they cut me off there will, of course, be litigation.

But I gave up on it and concentrated on finding my way to the beach in Santa Monica.

I finally pulled up to Casa del Mar and, like every other fool in Los Angeles, I handed over my car to a man I have never seen before and have no idea if I will ever see again. Then I make my way to the bar. I'm early so I order a drink and sit back to watch the sunset arrive over the Pacific and wait for the man I haven't seen in around fifteen years.

Ten minutes later I look up and he's walking towards me. "Martyn," I say, "Good to see you."

"Listen, if you want I can take some of those 500 Lileks for Senator signs off your hands."

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Posted by Vanderleun at February 10, 2005 10:09 PM | TrackBack
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

So it's 12:53 AM here, and I'm heading up to bed, and I realized: I didn't link to you. Forgot the HTML. Well, what are the chances he'll have seen it . . . go to bed, do it in the morning. But some odd stab of conscience compelled me to get out the laptop and add the proper code. Then I check the link and read this.

I repeat: cool world.

Posted by: Lileks at February 10, 2005 10:59 PM

And no matter what, Lileks MUST run!

Posted by: Any A. Mouse at February 11, 2005 5:41 AM

It really IS a cool world.

I read both Lileks and Vanderleun everyday...and I get to toss in my two cents as if I'm a part of it all. I feel like a half-assed version of Forrest Gump standing around with my hands in my pockets while history is being made.

Someday, in some far-off future these entries will be in the Smithsonian just like Mark Twain's and H.L. Mencken's personal papers.

And some 14 year old bald macrencephalic museum-goer wearing a unisex jumpsuit will ask:

"What was it like when giants like Lileks, Vanderleun and Emperor Grumph walked the Earth?"

Posted by: Mumblix Grumph at February 11, 2005 6:08 AM

I'm hoping it was 500 of these lawn signs. Though maybe they're what made his publisher so upset, what with him writing for Hummel Fancier Magazine and all...

Posted by: Duane at February 11, 2005 7:51 AM

Psssst..... ix-nay on the enate-say or we'll have to ill-kay ou-yay.

Posted by: Gerard Van Der Leun at February 11, 2005 9:18 AM

Yeah, forget that Senate nonsense. Lileks/Van Der Leun in 2008!

Posted by: Pat Berry at February 11, 2005 9:25 AM

The cool part about this is the multi-levels of participation. There's the uber-clever level such as VDL and Lileks trading quips over their private/public sites, there's the level of us taking it all in awe and finally there's the level where us spectator/participants can trade all this with other insiders. It's still a pretty small world of people that I know who are part of all of this. In the past you never knew about Madison and Jefferson's 1,250+ letters regarding political matters such as the formation of the Constitution until years after the fact.

Posted by: phil g at February 11, 2005 12:33 PM

Izzat Martyn B. from Caniuckistan? Clever boy.

Keeps bad company.

Posted by: spongeworthy at February 11, 2005 12:38 PM

Lileks for FCC chairman

Sign the petition

Posted by: chris at February 11, 2005 1:55 PM

Lileks for President.

Posted by: Eric Blair at February 11, 2005 9:57 PM

Lileks for Strib Opinion Editor.

Posted by: Uffda Phil C. at February 12, 2005 9:00 PM
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