Events This Week

Hello and thank you for visiting my blog.
Here are some upcoming events!

WED 9/19: Union Hall, Brooklyn
7pm Doors / 7:30pm Show / FREE
Join host Dan Wilbur (author of “How Not to Read”) as he invites his favorite comedians who have authored books of their own! Featuring stand-up comedy from humorists, memoirists, and even a few instructional guidebook-ists, this show will finally get your face out of a book and into the minds of several deranged funny people. Featuring DAVID REES (author of “How to Sharpen Pencils”), JANEANE GAROFALO, AND MORE!

THU 9/20: Union Hall, Brooklyn
7pm Doors / $5
David Rees (How to Sharpen Pencils, Get Your War On) hosts a night of bare-knuckled bookishness that will test the mental and physical endurance of librarians. Help Rees and Dan Wilbur (How Not to Read; judge contests like Sharpest Pencil and Name that Novel. Special guest, author Carmela Ciuraru (Nom de Plume) leads a round of Guess the Pseudonym.

SUNDAY 9/23: Brooklyn Book Festival
“Artisanal Everything”
David Rees (How to Sharpen Pencils), the world’s only artisanal pencil sharpener, in conversation with Sam Anderson, critic at large for the New York Times Magazine. They discuss the artisanal culture of the Hudson Valley, Rees’ pencil business (he hand-sharpens pencils for mail order customers), and the artisanalization of everything in Brooklyn, from mayonnaise to soda.


Here’s a new GET YOUR WAR ON video about banks and mortgages and financial despair! Please share it with anyone you think might like it. Thanks!

UPDATE: I posted the wrong video. It’s fixed now. (Thanks Mom!)

Oops! And here’s last week’s installment, which I forgot to post:


The Huffington Post has commissioned 10 new GYWO videos — the first since 2008. Hooray for political cartoons! I hope you like this video; it’s about the RNC. Please share with your friends!

Olympics Liveblogging, Part II

8:53 PM: Now THAT’S what I call volleyball! A bunch of jumping a bonking! Everyone who competes in the Olympics and doesn’t suck is a winner.

8:49 PM: “Misty May, one of the greatest if not THE greatest…” (talking about volleyball on NBC) Zzzzzzz

8:47 PM: Well, that’s another ad for another TV show I probably won’t buy a TV in order to watch.

8:45 PM: USA wins the two-woman volleyball game! Oh, but it’s only the first set. Man, there’s a lot of ads on NBC’s Olympics. We’re hitting the mute button like every 30 seconds. My mom is talking about exercising at the senior center, about how there are all these crazy ping-pong players at the community center.

8:43 PM: Just spotted a second, larger tattoo on the US volleyball lady. Hmm. “America, when did we lose our way?” Mitt Romney never would’ve allowed that at HIS Olympics.

8:42 PM: A controversy about whether the US team “did a touch” on their volleyball. My head is still spinning from the Romney ad, so I can’t tell what’s what on this beach in London.

8:41 PM: We just saw a Chic-Fil-A commercial!!! It’s really a real business!!! Now we’re watching a Mitt Romney ad about how he saved the Olympics from 9/11(?!) WTF was that a real ad?!

8:39 PM: Must credit Nike headband for USA Olympics Volleyball, cc: NBC Sports Score Update, Olympics Edition / TV Broadcast Coverage (c) 2012 A.D.

8:38 PM: USA up by 2 points in beach volleyball in London. Must credit MNFTIU.CC & NBC Olympics Coverage, (c) 2012 Olympics

8:36 PM: One of the USA ladies has a tattoo on her back. C’mon guys, cover that moldy ol’ angel-looking thing with a band-aid, this is a class event. We’re not riding mechanical bulls for gold medals.

8:35 PM: Just jumping around in the sand and hitting the volleyball while everyone cheers. I guess this sport is okay, but it’s kinda boring to me.

8:33 PM: And we’re back! It’s women’s beach volleyball — I’ve heard a lot about this sport because of some controversy about bikinis and ladies’ bottoms or something. It don’t care if they wear sexy-nurse uniforms, this sport is boring, aka “On Her Majesty’s Secret Snooze-ice.”

8:32 PM: My mom just admitted she doesn’t read my reality-show recaps “terribly intensely.” :-( My dad just said, “It’s wonderful watching commercials without sound.” He basically hates commercials.

8:31 PM: Back to commercials. NBC is doing a good job of balancing Olympic content and commercials.

Olympics Liveblogging, Part I

8:28 PM: Demus just smoked the rest for breakfast! “You put in the work early, you can relax late.” -NBC analyst. She moves on to the next heat.

8:27 PM: And they’re off

8:25 PM: Now we’re watching Lashinda Demus about to compete in the 400M hurdles. The same race we just watched?! Umm, who’s in charge here? Okay, my friend just explained there are multiple heats for each race before the main race. BANG

8:24 PM: Wow, BIG Olympic flame this year! One of the biggest I’ve ever seen. Respect to whatever city is hosting this year’s Olys.

8:22 PM: Now we’re having a contest to see who can do the best Roy Williams impression. (UNC basketball coach.)

8:19 PM: BANG BANG!!! Again: BANG! The race begins … 10 hurdles must be jumped over … somebody FALLS on the first hurdle! A Kenyan FALLS also! Winner is Henova, from the nation of CZE, followed by Brown of USA.

8:18 PM: This is event is the 400M hurdles — NOT a dash as previously reported — it’s hurdles. “God never put a hurdle in my path I couldn’t jump over” –bumpersticker I just invented. BANG and they’re off…

8:17 PM: How do you feel about track and field? It’s one of the hottest sports, and we’re definitely about to see some of it, courtesy of the Olys. Here’s T’erea Brown, about to compete in her first Olys. She’s running a dash!

8:15 PM: Now we’re watching a commercial about baseball games.

8:09 PM: Enough about this guy with the special legs. I wanna see some live sports! This might be the only night I can see the Olys. Bring on the live feed from London!

8:07 PM: Can’t believe I’m actually watching the Olys! I’ve been hearing about them for more than a week and now I’m finally getting to see them for myself. This woman interviewer has got mad crazy teeth; she seems cool.

8:06 PM: My dad is looking up the correct spelling of Verrazano (?) Bridge in his Encyclopedia Britannica. Now we’re watching a report about Oscar Pastorious (?). He’s drinking a weird green milkshake with plants in it.

8:05 PM: We’re all talking about stuff while commercials play on TV. “Olympics memories are made of this.”

8:02 PM: Wu Minxia wins a gold medal! In high-dive jumping! (I’m watching the Olys at my parents’ house; they have a high-def TV!)

8:01 PM: Ladies and gentlemen: It’s the Olymics! And only has all your liveblog needs! We’re watching ladies’ diving, which only happens once every 4 years!

Olympics Live-Blogging!!!

“A tradition unlike any other …” The MASTER of liveblogging (me) will be liveblogging the Olympics tonight starting at 8:00 PM EST!

Olympics Spirit — catch it if you can!!!


If you’re a writer, your self-worth is determined by how people you’ve never met respond to your work. This is good because it makes your ego a model of stability!

Anyway, enough of my high-falutin’ psychobabble. Here are two reviews of HOW TO SHARPEN PENCILS:


By the time Rees is actually supplying meticulous instructions for the use of various sharpening devices, the reader will feel psyched, not only from reading such vividly conveyed preparations but also via Rees’s intoxicating use of terminology, e.g., “planer orifice,” terms that function as entry points into another world.


David Rees credits a 1940 shipfitters’ manual as inspiration for “How to Sharpen Pencils,” his stupefyingly exhaustive guide to the art, science and artisanal pleasures of manually shaping a thin graphite column encased in a 6.75-inch-long wooden tube to a satisfactorily sharp point for writing, drawing, doodling or inserting up a nostril. Shipfitters must have a high boredom threshold.