The Compleat Playboy Centerfold

A Male Nude
Hans Von Staschiripka Canon (1829-1885)

I laugh at myself, old man, with no strength left
inclined to piney peaks, in love with lonely paths
oh well, I've wandered down the years to now
free in the flow; and floated home the same, a drifting boat.


What I know of the divine sciences and of Holy Scripture I learned in woods and fields, by prayer and meditation. I have no other masters than the beeches and oaks.

---St. Bernard Of Clairvaux

Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation. Tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego.

---Jean Arp

My computer time each morning is very dignified, above suspicion and beyond reproach. I try to stay out of trouble. My wife's vigilance helps with that. Ordinarily I read my distinguished email, a few headlines, a calendar and poem of the day, some spiritual advice, look at a few photos of nature, and then go to Arts & Letters Daily, a site of online journal entries and reviews run by the Chronicle of Higher Education. A bastion of research and development, here I find such things as lofty examinations of Wittgenstein to get my mind purified, charged up. Following these meditations I am fully prepared for the daily workload.

Today however the site threw me a curve ball, a curvy ball that drew me irresistibly in. I swung at it, fanning the air, but wonderfully find I have no regrets. It's a review of a dangerous new book titled The Complete Playboy Centerfolds. It's a picture book for your---er---coffee-table. Every centerfold is in it, from the magazine's first monthly publication in 1953 (remember?) through 2007. The review is a subtle delight---and of course I'm here to refer you to that rather than the matters of more prurient interest. It's always been the writing that interests us about Playboy. Here's how it starts~~~

"My favorite Playboy centerfold is Miss September 1983, dressed for a college football game in striped socks and a tartan scarf. She has a flask, a fuzzy wool cap, and a team pennant. Her neo-Gothic surroundings are meant, I think, to evoke Yale. A single branch of ivy cascades next to her, and a textbook lies abandoned at her feet. She is naked."

There, you don't even have to see it. The writer of the review is Molly Young! I thought, What a strange name for a guy, but these days who knows? Well, it's not a guy and she writes openly about looking for a husband. Never mind Miss September: I had to see Molly Young!

The site with the review is an online version of a new magazine called n+1 and it's here . All they had to tell me about Molly is she lives in New York, and that she has 3 other articles to read. Google to the rescue.

Among the first listings was another reference I couldn't resist: Bloggers We Want To See In Bikinis: Molly Young , and there she is. Hopefully Jack Hostetter has a better chance than I do of hooking up, and from the way he writes they'd probably be a hilarious couple. Watch me get academic now to save the day: somehow I associate the kind of writing they do, fast and glib, with how we've learned to relate on the Internet. Of course we see it in magazines and newspapers now too, but it's new and it's youth and I love it. I must say I laugh out loud more at stuff on the computer than I ever did in the pages of books. OK, probably I just read the wrong books.

My friend Paul Quintanilla predicted recently we'll see blogging taught in schools soon. I'd never thought of that, but he's probably right. We'd certainly hope Molly Young has one somewhere...and she does. It's something she seems to work on everyday. You can take this confession with you for your Saturday, from her entry yesterday called "The Pan-subcultural Teen:" "Texting’s how I show my love.”


  1. Instant to instant,
    Whatever attracts the mind
    Is THAT in disguise.

    Blogging-101? What a dreadful concept!

    Is there a prescribed Chanoyu to the art of blogging?

    Tea ceremony -
    Ritual form, releasing

    Tea from an empty cup?

    Ink, significantly black
    On paper's whiteness -
    This creative act!

  2. These similar pots -
    Different; uniqueness
    Will not be mass-produced!

    Nice to run into you here jazzolog, and you too Nausicaa.

    Jazzolog is an old acquaintance of mine, we've never met in person, but it's always a pleasure sharing a drink or two with him online and I consider him a friend.

    Insofar as drinks go, the way I look at it The Wulfshead is as good a place as any. The club prides itself on having anything you can name on tap. And what goes down in The Wulfshead stays in The Wulfshead……..…so…er…there is really no need for Goldberry to find out about this particular chat or the kind of picture books some members of the Wulfshead may or may not keep on their coffee table, now, is there?

  3. It would be fun to teach though, but I hate the word "blog"---and would have to advocate changing it to something else. In fact, "Internet" isn't so good either...and "web" is the best argument I know for not allowing nerds to make up our vocabulary. "Networking" sucks also. Who wants to be in either a net or a web? The point is we've evolved with the technology onto some kind of new level of relationship possibilities. It involves words but we don't have the words yet to describe it. Exciting!

    What I would do for a course is get into all this, and then offer blogs that really are affecting the world...just like books and articles and poems do. It would be from a literary/social angle rather than coding, building sites and all that.

    Thanks for the welcome Tom. I still don't know who everyone is in this establishment, and even after I'm introduced there seem to be a great many masks being worn. Perhaps I should get one too, in case a triste develops.

  4. It' too bad about NCN. The format and logic of the site are quite nice and easy to use. But the imbibers here appear polished and civilized, and this may be a good place to visit on a cold winter's night.

    Having taken some courses as a post grad and in grad school on programming I don't mind the engineering jargon, perhaps because I'm accustomed to it.

    Programming is a non-logic logic, a brute logic which makes the machine work. So the guys who came up with the terms were rather heartless when it comes to ordinary users. (Among whom I include myself.) And engineers thought up much of the jargon which entered the mainstream.

    I find computers fascinating. Anything (virtual) is possible: all you have to do is dream it up.

    And look at what we have: the web! A miracle! And we're still only in the infancy of this new technology.

    But it is also another coffin nail driven into literature as a mirror of the modern world. Like all the other electronic media.

    Emails and blogging have created a new form of communication. Some day a young person of genius will come along and see the poetry beneath the surface of writing (I almost said composing) blogs and emails. And a whole new cultural entity will be formed.

  5. Anything virtual save genuine creativity, I should say.

    Unlike some programmers I don't believe a computer can be programmed to be another Mozart. Or to possess any form of independent creative intelligence.

  6. Quinty, glad to see you...and perhaps we should order another bottle. I believe you know the wondrous Madam Nausicaa, and you may have seen the knavish Mr. Bombadil here and there. He's everywhere.

    The NCN you speak of is another watering hole. known I believe to the others at the table...but I think it dried up. Never as comfortable as this though, eh? Roughnecks were the problem...and entrepreneurs trying to sell the sacred waters. I hope the concierge here has remedy at hand for any Jekyll and Hyde types.

    One time, at another place, I offended an assistant bartender of some sort. Not only did he throw me out of the establishment, he obtained a list of other clubs I frequented and showed up there trying to smudge my reputation. It didn't work though. Ah, the tales we could tell of the places we've seen...