Private: Please welcome Pasha; also, site announcement

Pasha Malla of Montreal is taking over for me tomorrow. It’ll be an all-Canadian links day.

You may remember that Pasha guest-hosted during the blackout last August. If experience is any guide, he’s going to try to tell you he’s not smart or funny and that you should kick him as you pass on the street, but don’t listen. Pasha has stalkers. He makes everybody laugh on the Zoetrope backboards. If I had a dime for every time my youngest brother-in-law has urged me to “bring back that Pasha Malla fellow,” I’d be able to buy two $3 malteds at the Hudson Street candy store where the mean old lady works.

While you wait, be sure to read one of my favorite Pasha Malla short stories, “It Is What Fiction.” Then pick up the latest copy of Maisonneuve and read his “Looking for Mr. Goodbark,” a report on the Montreal International Dog show and a reflection on what we look for in pets. Here’s an excerpt:

Then, of course, there were the owners: registering, grooming, strolling around attached by leashes to their pets. A giant mustachioed fellow lurked in the shadows with an immaculately styled poodle; some stoic matron stood by, oblivious, while her corgi pissed surreptitiously on another dog’s leg. And only at a dog show could a matching jacket and skirt adorned with sequined Dalmations be worn with sincerity, glittering like a beacon of hope for all things earnest and true.

My only prior exposure to this facet of the dog business was the Christopher Guest mockumentary Best in Show, which I understood to be a tongue-in-cheek send-up of kennel culture. I asked Arthus Newman, the event organizer and president of Montreal’s United Kennel Club, about the film, expecting condemnation or, at the very least, curt dismissal. Without missing a beat, Newman responded, “That’s dog shows. That’s who we are. That’s what these things are like.”

If you want to email Pasha, use this address:

One other quick note: like Laila and Ed, Stephany and I have been planning in the last few weeks to post more original reviews and content on this site. If the blogs are going to play a role in decentralizing publishing information and power, then as Ed says they need to be generating original stories and criticism rather than simply commenting on the news put out by periodicals. In the next month, expect to see brief book reviews from Steph and me, and from a few of my bookish friends, some of whom are untainted by the book blog world.