Bill “Bojangles” Robinson

bojanglesA complete entertainer, ill-served by Hollywood

The Sunday Series: Sunday May 24, 2015

The Sunday Series:

Sunday May 24, 2015

Books.  I have a lot of books.  Every book I have is a great book.  But due to space and finances, I need to surrender some of my books to the outside world.  I set this Sunday to make final choices.  Which books to keep and to give-up.  The truth is I don't want to give up any of my books.  If I could, I would keep my books intact as a collection.  So when I die, it will be either sold or put up in a museum as the "Tosh Collection."   I'm one of the few that believe that looking at someone's bookshelf, you are truly seeking a self -portrait of that individual.  Clothing is another option, but in reality, it is the book that you read, that makes you what you are. 

The first book I became aware of is more likely one of the Oz books by L. Frank Baum.  The need to go somewhere else, or anywhere else from home, is a pleasant way to see the world, as imagined by another person.   I set my work space, or writing- room, as a window or a port to travel.    What I fear now, is to get rid of a book, that may be a passage to the other world.  Once gone, I'll be stuck here, sitting in front of this Macbook Pages application.  

I have quite a few of P.G. Wodehouse titles, and through those books, I'm exposed to a world that is much better than mine.   I have often tried to visualize having Jeeves at my service.  My needs are taken care of in such a fine manner, that I don't even have to ring the bell that is placed on my work table.  He knows when to arrive, and I can sit here and just 'desire' something.  

Tearing this collection apart is like death.  A young man wouldn't have to do this, but as one gets older, they have to inventory their goods - and decide what must go and what must stay.   I then had the thought of photographing every book I own - just the cover.  That way, if I'm on a trip outside my house, I can in a sense carry my collection with me.  Logically I can't re-read the books, so do I keep them?  

I would say third of my collection are used or second-hand books.  For each used book, I think who owned it, and why they had to let it go.  The most common, especially if they're vintage paperbacks, were owned by a student.  Most, if not all, are underlined in specific sections - more likely used for a classroom.  Then there are books that are clearly owned by an older individual.   One wonders if death came upon them, and the family sold the books to the second-hand shop.  And since I own books that the original publication goes back to the twenties - all those must have been touched by the once-living.  I feel that way about vinyl albums and 45rpm singles as well.  There is not only history in the grooves and paper, but also surrounding the object.  

When I go to a used bookstore and they have new stock, I can tell it came from a specific collection.   Especially when you notice new titles in the poetry section.  Readers tend to stay with a certain school of poetry.   I was intrigued some years back, when I came upon a lot of French Surrealist poetry on the shelves.  I became curious to know who the original owner of these titles.  The bookshop owner didn't want to give out a name, but told me he was a TV producer, who created "Father Knows Best."    I didn't need to know more.  I was satisfied that a reader of Surrealist poetry, was also the mastermind of an all-American inane family living in the suburb of everyday 1950s America.   

As I'm about to give up my book collection, I have to decide to either open up my own library - or to toss it out to the world.  I have come to the conclusion, that when I die, I will give my house to the town of Silver Lake, where my belongs and books will stay intact.  There will be a $5 admission to keep the property and home in a good shape.   The "Tosh Berman Library" will be used for scholars as well as the 'everyday' curious to see what my life was like, which is basically the reflection of the books that I own.  


secretcinema1: Open Air Screen, Palermo, 2007, Wim Wenders


Open Air Screen, Palermo, 2007, Wim Wenders


60s70sand80s: Jim Beam ad featuring Dennis Hopper & John…


Jim Beam ad featuring Dennis Hopper & John Huston, 1972


Jurgen (11)

jurgen thumbPitiful Disguises of Thragnar

Radium Age 100 (4)

hussain thumbRokeya Sakhawat Hussain's SULTANA'S DREAM

Status update.

When you’re dealing with difficult things but they’re the same difficult things you’ve been dealing with for years, and you sort of want to talk about them but you’re also tired of hearing yourself talk about them, and you send a few messages, start and delete several others, and go to a movie alone and step out afterwards into a big Midwestern parking lot and the moment before the distraction provided by the film dissipates, you hold your phone up to the sky.




my dream team

my dream team


Air Bridge (13)

innes thumbI knew then that his lung was punctured.

poboh: Train station along the route of the Simplon-Orient…


Train station along the route of the Simplon-Orient Express, 1950, Jack Birns.

(Source: )




brucesterling: the-gasoline-station: Chile’s Calbuco Volcano…



Chile’s Calbuco Volcano Erupts

First eruption in 42 years results in huge ash cloud over mountainous area in south of country

Sources: The Guardian / NBC News / The Telegraph / reddit /Video

GIF: The Gasoline Station

*I’d be just as happy not to experience that first-hand


nevver: Hole punch flipbooks, Scott Blake


Hole punch flipbooks, Scott Blake





The Fourth Man (6)

raft thumbPerroquet caught up their paddle and flattened him…

creak-slam-sit: I freakin love that Maya did her silly National…


I freakin love that Maya did her silly National Anthem bit while giving a commencement speech. She is truly one of a kind.

can’t wait to see her tonight in Los Angeles performing with Princess !


Closing tabs

The twenty-four-hour loaf.

Food in cubes!

The thing about pencils.

Powers of three

The tri-colonic title.

Sandwiches at an impeachment

This is absolutely amazing! So much so that I have reproduced the image here....

(Was thinking of this material recently as I am partway through William Dalrymple's fascinating White Mughals, which rather makes me wish I were a historian rather than a literary scholar....)

Knowing selves

Jessica Gross interviews Vivian Gornick. On writer versus persona in memoir:
Well, look at all the great fiction writers who have such brilliance about the characters they create, but know very little about themselves. Here’s a perfect example. Doris Lessing is a great writer in my view, but also very limited in some ways. There are novels and stories she’s written that are extraordinarily perceptive about men and women, but when she writes her own memoirs, she is stupid. She doesn’t know how to create out of her own unsurrogated self a narrator who knows how to be honest. So her memoirs are dishonest in the sense that where self-knowledge is required, it doesn’t work.



Museum of Femoribilia (1)

old maid thumbThe jolly game of OLD MAID

installator: “#London: A private collection of 21 works…


“#London: A private collection of 21 works inspired by the US dollar to be offered at @Sothebys on July 1st & 2nd” (@garage_magazine)


Radium Age 100 (3)

lerouxGaston Leroux's THE MACHINE TO KILL

neutralzones: Season 1, Episode 9


Season 1, Episode 9


Oscar Levant Show-Complete with Fred Astaire

There is nothing better on this planet than Oscar Levant.  Here is a complete show with the king of cool, Fred Astaire.

20th-century-man:Jane Greer / photo by Bernard of Hollywood,…


Jane Greer / photo by Bernard of Hollywood, 1946.


Flickr faces complaints over ‘offensive’…

Flickr faces complaints over ‘offensive’ auto-tagging for photos | Technology | The Guardian

Flickr is facing a user revolt after a new auto-tagging system labelled images of black people with tags such as “ape” and “animal” as well as tagging pictures of concentration camps with “sport” or “jungle gym”.

The system, which was introduced in early May, uses what Flickr describes as “advanced image recognition technology” to automatically categorise photos into a number of broad groups.


Code-X (65)

converse thumbTribe of Rebels

quickslivur: get to know me meme: [1/5] favourite celebrities →…


get to know me meme: [1/5] favourite celebrities Aaron Taylor-Johnson

I don’t marry myself into any genre. I ride on the back of the filmmaker and the character. I have to feel that c h a r a c t e r. I have to believe that character.

there’s just something about ATJ that’s soulful and compelling




Radium Age 100 (2)

burroughs coreEdgar Rice Burroughs's AT THE EARTH'S CORE

Malcolm X

x-malcolm4No public figure transformed himself more profoundly.

cinegasmic:my aesthetic tbh 


my aesthetic tbh 


 Nanex ~ Rise Of The Machines ~ 2006 – 2013We processed a…

 Nanex ~ Rise Of The Machines ~ 2006 - 2013

We processed a trillion records to create this video. For those not in congress, that’s 1,000,000,000,000. A thousand billions, or a million millions. Activity from each exchange is color coded according to the legend at top right. X - scale shows time of day in Eastern Time (Regular session trading: 9:30 to 16:00). Y- scale shows a measurement of HFT quote spamming. Basically, each time you see a colored line, it’s showing where a high frequency trading (HFT) algorithm quote spammed (stuffed) the market. An illegal activity. An activity the regulator believes doesn’t exist. Be sure to report any colored lines that show up. In 1999, at the height of the internet bull market, the maximum number of quotes per second for all stocks was 1,000. Today, that number is 1.5 million (1,500,000) - a rate that occurs every trading day, regardless of activity or news. All due to High Frequency Trading: creating an edge for themselves at the expense of everyone else.


Jurgen (10)

jurgen thumbThe Orthodox Rescue of Guenevere

Humans Need Not Apply – YouTubeHumans Need Not Apply is a 2014…

Humans Need Not Apply - YouTube

Humans Need Not Apply is a 2014 short Internet documentary film, directed, produced, written, and edited by C. G. P. Grey. The film focuses on the future of the integration of automation into economics, as well as the worldwide workforce.




The Sunday Series: Sunday May 17, 2015

The Sunday Series:
Sunday May 17, 2015

I walk, therefore I am. The eros of the trees and concrete call out to me.  Since I don't communicate that well with my fellow human beings, I tend to do all my serious conversations with objects - both living (plants) and dead (concrete/buildings).  Architecture never comes to life to me, till I see a figure passing a window inside their home or apartment.  I wonder what life is like behind that window or window shade. What kind of eros takes place in the rooms within that specific space?  

What I do know is that I'm part of the equation.  I'm there as a visitor or a passenger of a certain time and moment.  I tend to over think these things as I walk pass various windows, showing life as it happens.  I remember many years ago, walking around Amsterdam and being surprised by the huge open windows of one's daily life in their homes.   It seemed that the typical Dutch person doesn't believe in having a curtain.  So you can see the entire first floor where you can see the kitchen, the living room, and the dinning area.  Often I saw the wife cooking, while the husband/male is in the living room watching TV or reading a newspaper.  There is nothing to hide, but then why be so exposed to the outside world in such a manner?

There is an area in Amsterdam that is their red light district.  It's the oldest street in Amsterdam and it is called The Warmoesstraat (Warmoes street).  Walking down this street is like a girl market, where all the whores are placed in windows.  Since I'm a shy fellow, I have a hard time making direct eye-contact with the woman placed in the open windows - but they for sure try to make eye-contact with the walker.  Or, as you stroll by, they knock on the window to get your full attention.  

Here in Los Angeles, everything is covered up.  When I walk around my neighborhood, the windows are usually covered by a curtain or shade.  I never look through the shade or window of course, but it is odd that in Amsterdam you can see a whole life taking place in front of you - and here, at my home, it's covered up by the owners or renters of that structure.  The irony is that I do most of my writings by two large windows, so anyone who walks by can see me typing a way. 

Everyday people walk by here, walking their dog - but on Sunday, there are a lot more people passing me by.  Some I know being in the neighborhood, but some are a total mystery to me.  A lot of pretty girls come by here, with their dogs.  Even the dogs are beautiful.  A good looking dog usually has a good looking human attached to the other end of the leash.  

It's odd to look at people as they walk-by, and they don't look through my window.  If I was in their place and position, of course I would want to look in and see what that guy at the window is up to. 

My daydream is to be able to sit on a street bench, maybe a bus stop, and just have a glass of wine while watching a family through big windows doing what they normally do on a regular basis.  There is something very Jacques Tati about it all - where the citizen or consumer is doing their duties, which to me, seem like a theater piece.  I would like to take a Sunday, while the family is at home, and watch them from mid-morning till nighttime.   

Not long ago I went to MOCA to see Andy Warhol's 8 hour film "Empire," which is one long shot of the Empire State Building in Manhattan.  The shocking thing that happens is when the screen goes dark when night approaches, and then all of sudden, the lights go on.  It is probably one of the greatest moments of being in a movie theater for me.  The whole audience (the eight of us in the theater) gasp at the same time.  I would feel that way, watching a household as it approaches darkness, and then suddenly someone turns a light on in the living room or kitchen. 

As I get older, I feel life is getting more intense.  I sense colors as like I never had before.  Walking through Amsterdam is one experience, but I also feel the difference between Los Angeles and Amsterdam is a location of eros.  There is the obvious erotic pull of Amsterdam, but Los Angeles is more secretive, and perhaps more of an eros minded culture and structure.  I like Amsterdam a lot, but I love Los Angeles. 

cinemaspam:If we’re gonna perform Inception then we need…


If we’re gonna perform Inception then we need imagination



Radium Age: Context (47)

Exploding Bike1931 Rocket Bike

William Deresiewicz gets David Foster Wallace now

Just looking at William Deresiewicz’s piece on Mark Greif in Harper’s, where he writes:

Like David Foster Wallace, albeit in a very different key, Greif is willing to be vulnerable, to forgo the protections of irony and nihilism.

True!  (At least of DFW; I don’t know enough about Greif.)  And satisfiying, because I complained before about Deresiewicz mischaracterizing Wallace:

As for the slackers of the late ’80s and early ’90s (Generation X, grunge music, the fiction of David Foster Wallace), their affect ran to apathy and angst, a sense of aimlessness and pointlessness. Whatever. That they had no social vision was precisely what their social vision was: a defensive withdrawal from all commitment as inherently phony.

Maybe he reads my blog!



bjornstark:Athelstan sat there like “Oh my god, what”  [for…


Athelstan sat there like “Oh my god, what”  [for queensansastark]


Air Bridge (12)

innes thumbI was alone — in the Russian Zone of Germany.

I will never find all the bad sentences

Even now, a year after the book came out, two weeks before the paperback arrives, I’m still finding bad sentences in it.  The one I just noticed:

It was scary when a statistical model deployed by the Guest Marketing Analytics team at Target correctly inferred based on purchasing data that one of its customers—sorry, guests—a teenaged girl in Minnesota, was pregnant, based on an arcane formula involving elevated rates of buying unscented lotion, mineral supplements, and cotton balls.

I must have written “based on purchasing data” and then tried it again in a higher pitch with “based on an arcane formula … cotton balls” but forgotten to take out the original, leaving a sentence with a weird, redundant double “based on.”  Who knows how many mistakes like this are left in the final text?  How many will I never catch?


deathandmysticism:Frederick Dally, Indian totem poles at Fort…


Frederick Dally, Indian totem poles at Fort Wrangle, 1886


foreignmovieposters: Notorious (1946). French poster by Pierre…


Notorious (1946). French poster by Pierre Segogne.




Radium Age 100 (1)

food gods thumbH.G. Wells's THE FOOD OF THE GOODS

Code-X (64)

high def thumbHigh-Def Skin

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