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Podcast: Observers with Merrill Markoe and Caleb Crain


This week on The Sound of Young America, careful observation is in evidence.

Caleb Crain is a critic for The New Yorker. His piece in that magazine's September 11th issue, "Surveillance Society: The Mass-Observation Movement and the Meaning of Everyday Life," tells the story of a group which sought to create "Popular Poetry" by accumulating information on the day-to-day affairs of people in England. Thousands of volunteers kept notebooks on special days, marking everything they did and observed, and sent in their notes for analysis. Caleb discussed the interview on his blog.

Merrill Markoe is a comic and writer. Her most recent novel is "Walking in Circles Before Lying Down," about a young woman, adrift in Southern California, who starts taking advice from her dog. She was also a television writer for many years, and was the co-creator and original head writer of both "Late Night with David Letterman" and it's precedent, the daytime "David Letterman Show." Be sure to check out our bonus audio with Merrill below.

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

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Bonus Audio

Merrill Markoe reads from her novel

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Incidental Music by DJW

Best Quote Of All Time


There is an amazing part of the article on mass-observation that we talked about on this week's show. At one point, Crain quotes Humphrey Jennings, one of the three founders of the movement, as writing home to his wife: "My balls feel as quiet & rich as the paintings of Poussin in exile."

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Amazing.

It reminded me of a quote I read in an article on archives in The Believer. It is from a letter written by Hemingway to Ezra Pound.

"To me bulls ain’t exotic. They are normal. And such a goddam relief from all this horseshit about Art etc […] To hell with delicate studies of the American scene. Fuck the American scene. Fuck moers [sic], manners, customs all that horse shit. Let us have more and better fucking, fighting and bulls.”

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA TIMES A MILLION! Perhaps the most New Sincerity utterance of ALL TIME.

The Re-Up


Above: Joe Garden, features editor of The Onion, is frankly concerned you might want to steal his TSOYA T-Shirt.

The big shipment from our pals BroPrints in Santa Cruz came in today -- more t-shirts in every size. I've added men's small to the lineup, for the slighter amongst us. Any size is still just $16 including shipping. Just use the form below to cop one:

Shirt Size

And of course with every purchase you get FREE STICKERS!

This is the best way to tell the world about your favorite public radio program and podcast! And dirt cheap, too!

Norm MacDonald on the Crocodile Hunter


The Best of Borat


It occured to me as I was writing this post about Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat that there are still sad souls in the world who haven't had the chance to check out Kazakhstan's top lifestyle reporter. In order to help remedy that horrible problem -- here's a "Best of Borat" reel from the UK version of Da Ali G Show.

Aspen Showcase at the Dark Room in SF


Just an FYI for our Bay Area readers...

Our friends in the Kasper Hauser Skit Club will be showing their wares for the bigwigs at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival next Tuesday night at the Dark Room Theater in San Francisco. The HBO festival, held annually in Aspen, Colorado, is the most prestigious comedy festival in the United States, and is a really, really big deal.

The show is this coming Tuesday night, September 19th, at 9:30 PM. Reservations are strongly reccomended and can be had by calling 415-401-7987. Tickets are five dollars. I'm sure there will be electricity in the air. So go!

"Little Danger"


Got into an extensive discussion of this sign with my guest on the next TSOYA, Merrill Markoe. The elevator in my building was stuck between floors, but I knew not to become alarmed for the poor souls potentially trapped therein. "Don't worry," I thought to myself as we took the stairs. "If there is someone in there, there is 'little danger' of them running out of air or falling uncontrollably."

LITTLE DANGER? So this sign is telling the reader, someone who is trapped in an elevator, not to be alarmed, because while there certainly is some danger of me FALLING UNCONTROLLABLY, it is only a modest danger? The danger of asphyxiation is present, but not really worth getting my knickers in a twist over?

Jiminy Christmas.


PPS: Here is a sign that Merrill enjoyed.

Andy Kaufman on Dean Martin's Comedy World


June 6th, 1974

SoCal at it's best.


OK, listen: this song is a little corny and Lil Rob's rapping is competent at best... but I love this song. It makes me wish I still had my my ElCo so I could drive around with the windows down and the stereo pumped. (Of course, I once got a $250 ticket for just that, so maybe I'd be careful.)

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