Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wanted: A Consistently Bloodthirsty Dictionary

I'm about to head out for the day's errands, but I just had to mention something. While idly scanning through my NI2 for X words (it's only, like, 3 pages), I noticed the following discrepancy. Here's the eye-popping definition for Xipe:

Xipe (he pa). n. The Aztec god of sowing, and patron of workers in precious metals. Human victims sacrificed to him were flayed.

Now, a page over, we read this:

Xiuhtecutli (he oo ta koo tle). n. The fire god of the Aztecs.

That's it!? One bland sentence? Conspicuously absent from this description is the fact that the slaves who were sacrificed to him were burned alive, and then had their hearts removed before they died. (This article confirms that Xiuhtecutli and Huehueotl were basically the same god, which might explain why NI2 doesn't even list Huehueotl; This article gives the gory details of Huehueotl's worship.)

At first, I thought, "This is the relatively prim NI2 from 1959. Maybe they didn't mention the immolation sacrifice for reasons of taste, and the flaying reference was a fluke." But then I checked up on the definitions for "Tlatloc" and "Tezcatlipoca," and the sacrificial details are given for both of those guys. And the listing for Quetzalcoatl deliberately mentions that he wasn't worshiped with human sacrifice, which seems like an odd thing to mention unless--as happens in the NI2--you're in the habit of mentioning human sacrifice, one way or another, whenever the Aztecs come up. Looks like Xiuhtecutli got screwed.

What I'm saying is, although I love the NI2 deeply and profoundly, I'm forced to admit that someone back in the day fell asleep on the job, and as a result, the New International Unabridged, 2nd Edition, is one sentence less interesting than it should have been. I know it's a big dictionary, but hey, Merriam-Webster: let's see that that doesn't happen again.



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