Sally Forth

Hey, remember The Fourth of July, 2003? We don't, but found this in our archives:

Fourth of July Fourthiness.

Independence is on the march, patriots.

& Recently . . .

Kurt Cobain's Ghost with an Invitation to a Fourth of July Picnic and Fireworks by Angela Genusa

"B.L.T.": A Review by Will Layman

Ten Tiny Poems by Brian Beatty

Angry Words from a Gnome Who to This Day Continues to Think the Human Genome Project Was Actually The Human Gnome Project by David Ng

Key Party, N.Y.C., Circa Always by William K. Burnette

A Day on the Phone with Mythological Norse Firewarrior, Bringer of Storms by Aaron Belz

Polish Fact

Gross Domestic Product:
$373.2 billion (2002 est.)

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Meat-stuffed pasta pocket:
Ravioli (Italian)
Wonton (Cantonese)
Kreplach (Yiddish)
Pierogi (Polish)
Pelmeni (Russian)

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Friday, October 1, 2004   |    Fiction

Reviews for Nicholson Baker’s Checkpoint that I Started to Write before Realizing I Was Thinking of Something Else

by Matthew Tobey

Nicholson Baker’s Checkpoint is a tour-de-force roller coaster of a book, worthy of a place on anyone’s bookshelf. The hotly anticipated sequel to The Old Testament, the book compiles several accounts of the life of Jesus Christ of Nazareth as told by the Apostles. A real page-turner, the book had me on the edge of my seat at many points. Specifically, the tension built by the infamous “inn débâcle” was on par with anything by Agatha Christie. But the book is not without its laughs. John the Baptist and Judas are like a cross between Rosencrantz & Guildenstern and Laurel & Hardy with a dash of …

Anyone searching for a wildly original new book to curl up with will not be let down by Checkpoint, the latest from author Nicholson Baker. The novel follows the hilarious trials and tribulations of the four women who run Sugarbaker & Associates Interior Design. The inimitable Dixie Carter stars as Julia Sugarbaker the leader of the quartet of Southern belles who, despite their constant ribald and witty wisecracking, have a deep and caring bond with one another. However, one of the book’s brightest spots is Meshach Taylor’s performance as Anthony Bouvier, the effeminate male fifth wheel of the bunch. If you’re anything like me, after a few pages you’ll find yourself in love with the name Meshach, attempting to work it into conversation whether appropriate or not, and using it as a meditation mantra.

If you find yourself tiring of Jean Smart’s Charlene, fear not. Later in the book she is replaced by a new character played by “Saturday Night Live” alumna Jan Hooks. One can’t help but wonder how much better the book might have been if she were named Meshach. In fact, perhaps if all of the characters …

If Nicholson Baker is not awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, I hereby pledge to cut off the ring-toes of both my feet in protest. The story aside, this book is a revolutionary tome that has raised the bar and changed writing forever. Never before have I encountered a literary work that toasts so well. From bread to bagels to Eggos to English muffins to Pop-Tarts, Checkpoint is a delight. If I had one problem with the book, it’s one that can’t be blamed on the author so much as on this reviewer. The book will not—I repeat, will not—accommodate hoagie rolls and attempting to toast a hoagie roll may cause the book to jam up and burn the roll. For subs, hoagies and grinders, I highly recommend either a toaster oven, Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven, or …

By day, Matthew Tobey is an editor for All Movie Guide. By night, he operates the Web log The City of Floating Blogs. By afternoon, he will have thought of at least three things that would have made this bio funnier. He is happily married, used to edit Haypenny and enjoys writing about himself in the third person. He can be contacted at