Let's Talk About Talking: The Hugo House just posted Pam Houston's Word Works talk from January on YouTube in its entirety. Houston talked with Seattle author Suzanne Morrison about writing good dialogue, which is something that almost every novice writer trips over.

Comment of the Day: From Brendan's post this afternoon about taking the next steps towards dismantling blanket prohibition of other drugs.


Don't Say Baywatch: In an unlicensed feature-length spin-off to a television show that cannot be named, David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson play lifeguards in red bathing suits, battling a nuke-wielding villain played by John Cleese.

Neighbors Don't Have to Look at Art: In June, we told you about a neighborhood in New York that did not like their neighbor's 33-foot-tall Damien Hirst statue. Today, Patricia Cohen at the New York Times says the matter has been resolved:

The statue — with its partly ripped-away skin that reveals the woman’s skeleton as well as the fetus — will be installed in the pocket of a hill so that it rises only 25 feet above level ground. The statue will be turned so that the detailed anatomy will face the house instead of the road, and it will not have any artificial lighting.

Finally, Mr. Rosen has agreed to maintain all-season landscaping that will shield the statue from view.

"Blurred Lines" Is So Last Year: Robin Thicke's new album is selling terribly around the world. In its first week in stores, it sold 25,000 copies in the US and just 530 copies in the UK.

Listen to the Oldest Song in the World: Open Culture posted a 3400-year old Sumerian hymn.

She Danced the Hate Out: You should read this great quote from Rosie Perez about the making of the "Fight the Power" dance sequence that opens Do the Right Thing.

Trust the CIA, for Once: Say what you will about the murdering and the secrecy, but the CIA offers some pretty good writing advice in their style manual:

Keep the language crisp and pungent; prefer the forthright to the pompous and ornate.

Do not stray from the subject; omit the extraneous, no matter how brilliant it may seem or even be.

Favor the active voice and shun streams of polysyllables and prepositional phrases.

Keep sentences and paragraphs short, and vary the structure of both.

Be frugal in the use of adjectives and adverbs; let nouns and verbs show their own power.