A gross but perhaps useful metaphor

I don’t post here often enough for a period of silence to seem especially notable, but this time, the silence has been on purpose while I’ve been reflecting on current events.

Today I went to use the restroom at a coffeeshop and found the toilet clogged. (Aren’t you glad I’m not accompanying this with photos?)

I thought of leaving. I thought of telling the staff.

Then I picked up the plunger. Sure, I hadn’t made the mess, but whoever had left the toilet in its heinous condition was long gone, and the coffeeshop staff had a lot of other things to do. I unclogged it myself.

I’m not saying that dismantling the befouled toilet’s structural and institutional equivalents is nearly that simple. But that’s the approach I intend to take: recognize the mess, use the tools at hand to work on cleaning it up.

 

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The Unconquerable (9)

macinnesThe Arrest
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“Sheepdogs could lose their jobs to robots after scientists learned the secret of their herding…”

Sheepdogs could lose their jobs to robots after scientists learned the secret of their herding ability.

Rounding up sheep successfully is a simple process involving just two basic mathematical rules, a study found.

One causes a sheepdog to close any gaps it sees between dispersing sheep. The other results in sheep being driven forward once the gaps have sufficiently closed.

A computer simulation showed that obeying these two rules alone allowed a single shepherd – or sheepdog – to control a flock of more than 100 animals.

The discovery has implications for human crowd control as well as the development of robots that can gather and herd livestock, the scientists said. […]

To conduct the study, the researchers fitted a flock of sheep and a sheepdog with backpacks containing highly accurate GPS satnavs.

Movement-tracking data from the devices was programmed into computer simulations to develop the mathematical shepherding model.

Writing in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the researchers concluded: “Our approach should support efficient designs for herding autonomous, interacting agents in a variety of contexts.

"Obvious cases are robot-assisted herding of livestock, and keeping animals away from sensitive areas, but applications range from control of flocking robots, cleaning up of environments and human crowd control."



- Sheepdogs could be replaced by robots after scientists crack simple process | UK news | theguardian.com
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August 27, 2014



August 27, 2014

They are having a double-bill at the Beverly theater tonight, showing “Rock, Rock, Rock” and “Play It As It Lays.” Both films starring Tuesday Weld, who I first saw in the TV show “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.” To this day the perfect little squeeze for me.   I have a tendency to date women who look like Tuesday, because she’s my ideal beauty.  There’s the icy blonde, and then there is the blonde who can raise the temperature of your coffee, just by being there in that room.  There is something vulnerable about her, and I imagine that she is socially awkward in social gatherings.  I can see myself parked in a car by her apartment, and talking about things with her.  I would want to embrace her, but I know that would be wrong.  Well, this is all in my head.  Nevertheless I have had relationships with women who very much look like Tuesday.



Each man has their “type” and where that comes from is a very mysterious place.  To be honest, my feelings for that type are always visual to me.  It is not due to if she’s smart or interesting, but more to do with the thickness of her lips, and how her blonde hair flows over her eyes or not.  My obsession once hit a peak, when I was going on a date with a girl who had dark hair.  I bought her a blonde wig, and asked her to watch various Tuesday films, to see if she could imitate her.  The fact that she’s “fake” made the sex with her very exciting to me. Of course a relationship like that, can’t possibly last long.  But for me, it is not just the length of time, but the quality - and even now, when I think back, I smile.



Having this private obsession, I tend to ‘smell’ out others who may share my obsession with a certain type of woman.  I don’t have any serious money, but I like to collect art books by Man Ray.  Both his sculptures, paintings and especially his photographs.   But to be honest what I love most about him is his taste of women.   Lee Miller, Kiki, and of course his wife was all beautiful, and more than that, incredibly sexy.  Over the years I have purchased books with respect to his photography, and I cut out the images of women he photographed.  I would think that he had sexual relationship with every girl he photographed, no?   What I did was to collect the images and put it in a scrapbook, that I hand-made by myself.  Whenever I look through this scrapbook, I would get such an erotic charge. It is like the image is coming off the paper and grabbing my genitals.

Also I was intrigued by Man Ray, because in a sense he made his character up.  I find that fascinating especially when you throw in sexual identity in the mix.  I often wonder if I made up my desire for Tuesday Weld, or it somehow came naturally, which thinking now, must be impossible.  I’m intrigued by people who go out with the same looking people, or they have a precise physical requirement - for instance they must be blonde or redhead and so forth.  I don’t know where or when my identity started. I don’t think it came naturally. It was more of a choice of some sort.  But where did that ability to make choices come from?



Like Man Ray, I also take an interest in mechanics and how things can work.  As a hobby I made myself a rhythmicon, which is basically the first electronic drum machine.  The composer Henry Cowell invented it with Léon Theremin, with the hopes of using it for his music.   It can use 16 different rhythms and I find it fascinating to build something from nothing and then having it become something. Imagination can lead one to new ways of looking at the world, yet I didn’t alter the machine whosoever.  I kept the same model as Cowell and Theremin, because I wanted to be in their shoes.  I didn’t want something that I made-up, but borrowed.  For me, desire is what I know.  The more I know it, the more control I have over it. I’m going to enjoy the Tueday Weld double-bill.
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“That’s the problem with putting others first; you’ve taught them you come second.”

“That’s the problem with putting others first; you’ve taught them you come second.”

- (via angiellehcim)
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Man Ray

man rayPerformance art before such a thing existed.
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hirmes: Six Studies of Pillows (1493) - Albrecht Dürer (via)



hirmes:

Six Studies of Pillows (1493) Albrecht Dürer (via)

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August 26, 2014



August 26, 2014

I wrote a perfect book of poems called “The Plum in Mr. Blum’s Pudding” 25 years ago, and for the life (or death) of me I can’t write another poem since then.  The truth is the fact that it took me years to get to the point in writing that book, which didn’t take that long for me to write.  Maybe in six months?  I wrote most, if not all, while I was in Moji-Ko, Japan.  What excites me about poetry is the intensity of both the practice and the form.  It’s a snapshot of the world, where one doesn’t have to continue to worry about narration.  All my early poems were in a sense the basis of the poetry in the Plum book.  It didn’t happen, but I had to go through the process of writing every day in countless notebooks, to get to the point, where it made sense to me.  It is equally odd that I had to leave my country to focus on my language.  Which is exactly what happened when I was in Japan.

I couldn’t speak a word of Japanese, yet I made sure that I kept as far away as I can from the English language.   The distance from my own language and country made me super aware of my limitations, which acted out as an inspiration for the Plum book. Yet, I did have a mass-market English dictionary, which also had a small atlas in the back of the book.  With that as a guide, I plunge myself into writing “The Plum in Mr. Blum’s Pudding. ”



My most useful tool is my memory.  The beauty of it is the fact that it doesn’t have to be a correct memory.  In actually, I prefer the act of memory, and somehow get the facts wrong.  Some years ago, I read Jules Romains’ “Donogoo Tonka or The Miracles of Science” which had a huge effect on me, due that the location of a city in South America was totally made up by the author.   For me, a writer needs to be bigger than life.   When I was a teenager, I discovered Guillaume Apolliinaire, because I like the fact that he was writing poetry in such a fashion, that was so ‘new. ' To honor him and his work, I tried to write a poem from my memory, but alas not having the book in Japan, I had to re-invent the work.  A lot of my poems are really is my memory working to remember a piece of literature, or if it is something first-hand, such a conversation, then it is trying to remember what that person said.  If I was a journalist, I would be a total disaster, but as a poet, every accident becomes a port hole to another world.



Collecting art to me is a form of writing poetry.  Just not on paper.  I was very impressed with Peggy Guggenheim, because here is a woman who made her world, in her own fashion.  Combining the artists and their work and having it contained in a location is a must.  Art lives on no matter what, but with the focus of how one displays that work, and with another artist, it becomes a dialogue of sorts.  Writing poetry works the same way for me.   I choose words that hopefully will go together, not to make a specific sense, but actually to bring one’s imagination into focus.  As much as possible I want to avoid the real world and what I want to do is make it into an artificial paradise. To mis-phrase Donald Rumsfeld: “There are things out there, that we do know, but it is the unknown we need to know, and what we know, is not really knowledge, but a slight misunderstanding on what we think we know. ”



When I saw the film “Blow Up” I was struck by how easy reality can be altered by another medium - for instance in that film, with the camera.  Writing poetry serves the same purpose in that one is not recording what’s real, but what’s the subjective view of that world.  With that in thought, I’m a freed man.
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gameraboy: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)









gameraboy:

Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

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The Yorkshire Dales family who are designing entire cities in…



The Yorkshire Dales family who are designing entire cities in Iraq | Cities | theguardian.com

Something improbable is happening in the Yorkshire Dales. In a converted barn, nestling in the hills high above the market town of Sedbergh, with the fresh smell of cut hay in the air, a small family firm of architects is rebuilding Iraq. Cities ravaged by war and diminished by years of neglect under Saddam Hussein, such as Nasariyah, Kut and Kufa, are being reimagined, virtually, using state of the art 3D-modeling software by specialists in masterplanning nearly 3,000 miles away. […] Over coffee at his workstation, Elliot demonstrates to me how Esri CityEngine enables the quick creation of large-scale 3D city models. “This used to take ages,” he says, finessing the design of a multistorey car park in a 3D visualisation of London. “It used to take ages to change one paramater. Now you can do it at the click of a mouse.” He quickly creates a purportedly Iraqi residential district on his screen, giving projected houses shady courtyards, frontages fringed with date trees and roof-top air cons and water tanks. Then he starts to draw a road on screen. “All the data I’ve put in the rule files means that it will automatically tell me how much it will cost to build that road that way. And then if I get feedback from Iraq saying ‘Move the road slightly to the left’, I can do that easily and at the same time learn what that change will mean in terms of costs and other parameters.” To my eyes, there’s a touch of the pleasure of playing video games to Elliot’s work – certainly it looks like great fun.
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King Goshawk (35)

cuchulain thumbHow the People of England received the New Evangel
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John Buchan

john-buchan-1st-baron-tweedsmuir-1875-1940One of the most exciting adventure writers of the Nineteen-Teens.
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August 25, 2014



August 25, 2014

Every August 25, I fly to London for a meeting with my fellow birthday citizens.  It was started some years back by Sean Connery, and since he’s the oldest among us, he’s the one that organizes the event.  Basically it’s a dinner with only men who are born on August 25 and who are well-known in their fields of interest.   Right now it is very much a small club, which consists of Wayne Shorter, me, Elvis Costello (we’re actually born the same time),  Regis Philbin, Frederick Forsyth, Martin Amis, Tim Burton, and the head member of the group Belle & Sebastian, Stuart Murdoch.  Sean does a good job in organizing us to have dinner on our birthday, considering that all of us are busy people, but somehow when Sean says “come to dinner,” well, we never turn his invitation down.  I’ve been going since I was 23.   Now I’m turning 60.  As well as Elvis.

It’s a weird group of men in the room when we get together.  Otherwise, there is no absolute reason why we would or even want to get together.  Sometimes I feel that Sean is secretly laughing at us, for going to our birthday dinner, without our family, for decades now.  Time-to-time I believe that it is nothing but a power play on his part and we never discussed this within the group, but I have secretly kept this opinion to myself for years.  My wife and other family members have been upset at me for years by leaving them due to the date of my birth.    None of us in the August 25 group can say no to Sean Connery.  For me, I think it's due to the fact that my father used to take me to see Sean in the Bond films at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood.  As one gets older, memory becomes more of a shadow, but I deeply remember my dad and I seeing films like "From Russia With Love,"' Goldfinger" and so forth.   He always made the point to take me on the very first screening of the film, which at that time was around 11:30 in the morning.  It was a ritual between me and my dad.



Oddly enough, one would think I would feel closer to Elvis, if nothing else, due that we were born at the same time and moment.  But that fact has done nothing except the emotion of jealousy has crept up on us over the years.  This is something that Sean has noticed, and he likes to make fun of us.  I can see that it really upsets Elvis, and I just say nothing. The one I feel most closest to is actually Martin, because we are both writers, and both of us have well-known fathers.   It is difficult for the son to make his mark on the world, when you have a famous and well-liked father.   For him, it is probably tougher, because his father, Amis, was a very successful writer.  My dad, Wallace, was a visual artist, so at the very least I never had to compete in the same category as him.



The other writer in the group is Frederick Forsyth, and he’s quite different from Martin and me.  He wrote major bestsellers such as “The Day of the Jackal” and “The Fourth Protocol” that is good adventure or suspense novels, and it seems he is very close to Sean.  Both Martin and I feel that Sean has probably never read our books, which over time, we both think that’s odd.  Perhaps even an insult.  Almost every dinner, on our birthday, Sean went out of his way in complementing Frederick’s work, without ever mentioning my writings or Martin’s.



And I feel kind of sorry for Regis, who I think is quite brilliant in being himself in front of a TV camera.   Funny enough, I can at times feel more comfortable in front of a camera as well.  I did a series of shows called “Tosh Talks, ” where I just ramble on about books.  A lot of people hate the show, but for me, it is just a technique for me to say something about what I love in front of an (imaginative) audience.  When I do the show, I often think of Regis Philbin, and that puts me in a groove when my assistant starts taping me.  Nothing is planned, and I really like that.   As the Joker in the last Batman film said:

“Do I really look like a man with a plan? I don't have a plan. The mob has plans, the cops have plans. you know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught one. I just DO things. I'm a wrench in the gears. I HATE plans. Yours, theirs, everyone's.  I AM AN AGENT OF CHAOS. And you know the thing about chaos. It's fair.” 

So with that in mind I do the shows, and I have read Regis’ two books (both have brilliant titles) “I’m Only One Man!” and “Who Wants To Be Me?   When I read them, just for the titles alone, I thought for sure I must have written them.  I don’t feel that way with Martin and Frederick’s works, but still, even keeping Regis in mind, why do I go to Sean’s birthday dinner?

Tim Burton, Wayne Shorter and Stuart both stand out, because I have the impression that they don’t care what Sean thinks of them.  For them, it is just an amusement in itself, where Martin and the others take it very seriously.   I think back what the Joker has said, and at times I really hate myself to be in a world of Sean’s making, and I even start to resent that I share my birthday with him, and on top of that, when I do think of my birthday, I firstly think of him.  When Sean started to compliment Stuart by saying he’s the sound of young Scotland, me and Elvis briefly looked across the table at each other, but once our eyes made contact, we both looked away.

I just want to make acknowledgment to the participants:

Sean Connery:  83
Wayne Shorter: 81
Frederick Forsyth: 76
Martin Amis: 65
Tosh Berman: 60
Elvis Costello: 60
Tim Burton: 56
Stuart Murdock: 46

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secretcinema1: East Village Painter, New York, 1986, Rosalind…



secretcinema1:

East Village Painter, New York, 1986, Rosalind Solomon

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Radium Age: Context (4)

abyssPre- Revolutionary Russian horror movie poster.
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boringnamefashionblog: nappynisha: Typical dirty mirror…





boringnamefashionblog:

nappynisha:

Typical dirty mirror selfie. 

So damn cute! Stop, I can’t take it!

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“When I close my laptop, it goes to sleep. It’s a curiously domestic metaphor but it also implies…”

When I close my laptop, it goes to sleep. It’s a curiously domestic metaphor but it also implies that sleep in humans and other animals is just a kind of low-power standby mode. (Do computers dream of electric sleep?) Last year, Apple announced a twist on this idea: a new feature for the Mac operating system called “Power Nap”. Using Power Nap, your computer can do important things even while asleep, receiving updates and performing backups.

The name Power Nap comes from the term describing the thrusting executive’s purported ability to catch a restorative forty winks in 20 minutes but the functioning of Apple’s feature symbolically implies a yet more ultra-modern and frankly inhuman aspiration: to be “productive” even while dozing. It is the uncanny technological embodiment of the dream most blatantly sold to us by those work-from-home scams online, which promise that you can “make money even while you sleep”.

Sleep, indeed, is a standing affront to capitalism. That is the argument of Jonathan Crary’s provocative and fascinating essay, which takes “24/7” as a spectral umbrella term for round-the-clock consumption and production in today’s world. The human power nap is a macho response to what Crary notes is the alarming shrinkage of sleep in modernity. “The average North American adult now sleeps approximately six and a half hours a night,” he observes, which is “an erosion from eight hours a generation ago” and “ten hours in the early 20th century”.

Back in 1996, Stanley Coren’s book Sleep Thieves blamed insufficient rest for industrial disasters such as the Chernobyl meltdown. Crary is worried about the encroachment on sleep because it represents one of the last remaining zones of dissidence, of anti-productivity and even of solidarity. Isn’t it quite disgusting that, as he notices, public benches are now deliberately engineered to prevent human beings from sleeping on them?

While Apple-branded machines that take working Power Naps are figured as a more efficient species of people, people themselves are increasingly represented as apparatuses to be acted on by machines. Take the popular internet parlance of getting “eyeballs”, which means reaching an audience. “The term ‘eyeballs’ for the site of control,” Crary writes, “repositions human vision as a motor activity that can be subjected to external direction or stimuli … The eye is dislodged from the realm of optics and made into an intermediary element of a circuit whose end result is always a motor response of the body to electronic solicitation.”

You can’t get more “eyeballs” if the people to whose brains the eyeballs are physically connected are asleep. Hence the interest – currently military; before long surely commercial, too – in removing our need for sleep with drugs or other modifications. Then we would be more like efficient machines, able to “interact” with (or labour among) electronic media all day and all night. (It is strange, once you think about it, that the phrase “He’s a machine” is now supposed to be a compliment in the sporting arena and the workplace.)



- "24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep" by Jonathan Crary: Sleep is a standing affront to capitalism | New Statesman
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Kern Your Enthusiasm (25)

gotham typefaceJacob Covey on GOTHAM
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How did the Napa earthquake affect sleep? – Jawbone Blog The…



How did the Napa earthquake affect sleep? - Jawbone Blog

The South Napa Earthquake was the strongest to hit Northern California in 25 years. Our data science team wanted to quantify its effect on sleep by looking at the data recorded by UP wearers in the Bay Area who track their sleep patterns. Napa, Sonoma, Vallejo, and Fairfield were less than 15 miles from the epicenter. Almost all (93%) of the UP wearers in these cities suddenly woke up at 3:20AM when the quake struck. Farther from the epicenter, the impact was weaker and more people slept through the shaking. In San Francisco and Oakland, slightly more than half (55%) woke up. As we look even farther, the effect becomes progressively weaker — almost no UP wearers in Modesto and Santa Cruz (and others between 75 and 100 miles from the epicenter) were woken up by the earthquake, according to UP data. Once awaken, it took the residents a long time to go back to sleep, especially in the areas that felt the shaking the strongest. In fact, 45% of UP wearers less than 15 miles from the epicenter stayed up the rest of the night.
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Martin Amis

Author Martin AmisHe is champagne — complete with hangover.
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Gainsbourg The Biography ARTBOOK | D.A.P. ISBN: 9780966234671

The late and great Gilles Verlant's magnificent biography on French genius songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. Truly one of the great pop music figures on this sorry planet. Verlant spent over 100 hours interviewing Serge as well as doing interviews with all those around him, including iconic figures in the French music and film world. Not only an essential book on Gainsbourg, but also the showbiz world in France from the 1950s to the 1990s. This is the best book on the world of French pop. - Tosh Berman, Publisher TamTam Books


Gainsbourg: The Biography

Published by TamTam Books
By Gilles Verlant. Translated by Paul Knobloch.

When Serge Gainsbourg died in 1991, France went into mourning: François Mitterand himself proclaimed him “our Baudelaire, our Apollinaire.” Gainsbourg redefined French pop, from his beginnings as cynical chansonnier and mambo-influenced jazz artist to the ironic “yé-yé” beat and lush orchestration of his 1960s work to his launching of French reggae in the 1970s to the electric funk and disco of his last albums. But mourned as much as his music was Gainsbourg the man: the self-proclaimed ugly lover of such beauties as Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin, the iconic provocateur whose heavy-breathing “Je t’aime moi non plus” was banned from airwaves throughout Europe and whose reggae version of the “Marseillais” earned him death threats from the right, and the dirty-old-boy wordsmith who could slip double-entendres about oral sex into the lyrics of a teenybopper ditty and make a crude sexual proposition to Whitney Houston on live television.
Gilles Verlant’s biography of Gainsbourg is the best and most authoritative in any language. Drawing from numerous interviews and their own friendship, Verlant provides a fascinating look at the inner workings of 1950s–1990s French pop culture and the conflicted and driven songwriter, actor, director and author that emerged from it: the young boy wearing a yellow star during the German Occupation; the young art student trying to woo Tolstoy’s granddaughter; the musical collaborator of Petula Clark, Juliette Greco and Sly and Robbie; the seasoned composer of the Lolita of pop albums, Histoire de Melody Nelson; the cultural icon who transformed scandal and song into a new form of delirium.



Gainsbourg The Biography ARTBOOK | D.A.P. 2012 Catalog TamTam Books Books Exhibition Catalogues 9780966234671
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August 24, 2014


August 24, 2014

"Death cancels all engagements.” Thank God for that.  Because I really don't want to go to the party tomorrow. I heard from reliable sources that she will be there.  For this entire month, I pretty much hide myself in my study/office/library to avoid most if not all people.  Luckly the bathroom is just around the corner from my office, so I don’t really have to look at anyone.  I have a game that I play with dice.  Every morning I throw the dice against the bookcase, and if the number twelve comes up, then I don’t do anything foolish that day.



To be perfectly frank, I can spend my entire life in my study with my books. I’m intrigued what’s happening outside my world, but I prefer that I read about it, than participate with the outside world, because I don’t see the point in having an one-on-one relationship with a landscape that is so hostile to my way of thinking.  Even seeing a man walking down the street with the wrong type of pants can cause me a depression.  Even when I walk in my neighborhood and watch, which seem like a painfully slow motion film, the construction of the new apartment condos on the corner of Waverly and Glendale, causes me a migraine.



There is a woman who will be invited to the party tomorrow, that I must avoid at all costs.  Her name is Zuleika Dobson, and it seems she welcomes the suicides of men who are obsessed with her.  She’s not even pretty, which everyone can gather is less than beautiful, but still, she seems to hold an influence over men who fail to think for themselves.  It feels so odd to meet a woman who is actually sexually turned by a suitor’s suicide or suicide attempt. I just have to admit that for amusement sake, I would love to see her in a landscape where I can see men just falling on top of each other just to light her cigarette.  When I met her, she seemed to obtain unlimited enjoyment of blowing smoke towards my face.  I never liked her, but I wanted to have sex with her.

One time she came to my home, and met me in my library and office.  As she was making small talk, she went to my bookshelves and started to pull a book here and there, and that drove me insane.  She pulled my collected stories by Jorge Luis Borges off the shelf, read a random page, and commented to me: ‘Hmmm.” She then threw the book on my desk, at the same time she went hunting for another volume of something another, and I kept wondering if her hands were clean.  I can’t stand people touching my books, especially a woman like her, who God knows exactly where she had put her hands on. I knew some of her conquests, at least the one’s that are still alive, and I avoid making physical contact, or to be specific, to shake her hand, because I immediately think ‘Oh God she touched so-so’s cock.” Worst yet, I couldn’t bare the thought of looking at her mouth, knowing that so-so’s penis was in that hole below her nose.



I have a small portable turntable in my library and I put on an album by Léo Ferré “Les Chansons d’Aragon” which usually drives certain people nuts, but she seemed to like the recording.   She is a woman of taste, but it is the kind of taste that chews one up, and then spitted out against a filthy toilet.  While in my room she toyed with me like I was a yoyo and that I was the string that couldn’t come back, due to the lack of strength, to the two disks.  I literally held my breath till she left.

It is not obvious to me why I have to go to this party tomorrow. I was told that there was a specific theme to the party, and it deals with that there are 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour.  Also the host (hint, hint, the current beau of Zuleika) plans to show his favorite episodes of “60 Minutes.” Also to honor certain guests where 60 is the age for senior citizens in some cultures.  I do hope to the powers above me will give me a swift and dignified death before tomorrow.
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Satellite Lamps by Einar Sneve Martinussen, Jørn Knutsen, and…



Satellite Lamps by Einar Sneve Martinussen, Jørn Knutsen, and Timo Arnall.

The city is changing in ways that can’t be seen. As urban life becomes intertwined with digital technologies, the invisible landscape of the networked city is taking shape—a terrain made up of radio waves, mobile devices, data streams and satellite signals.

Satellite Lamps is a project about using design to investigate and reveal one of the fundamental constructs of the networked city—the Global Positioning System (GPS). GPS is made up of a network of satellites that provide real-time location information to the devices in our pockets. As GPS has moved from specialized navigation devices to smartphones over the last 10 years, it has become an essential yet invisible part of everyday urban life.

William J. Mitchell (2004) described the landscape of the networked city as an invisible electromagnetic terrain. In Satellite Lamps we explore and chart this terrain, showing how GPS is shaped by the urban spaces where it is used. GPS, alongside wireless networks, algorithms, and embedded sensors, is among the invisible technological materials that comprise many modern products. Created by a small team of design researchers at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Satellite Lamps is a part of our ongoing research into making technologies visible and communicating and interpreting their presence in daily life. As designers we typically shape how technologies like GPS are being used, but with Satellite Lamps we use our practice to address how they can be understood.

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fourtwographs: #forbudtfashion #forbudt #alternative….



fourtwographs:

#forbudtfashion #forbudt #alternative. #pinstripes #smoke #mystery #suit

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Max Beerbohm

Max_Beerbohm_1901_retouchedA humorist who poses a puzzle to theories of language and identity.
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Kern Your Enthusiasm (24)

An Hermes sign is seen on one of their Paris storesCintra Wilson on HERMÈS vs. HOTDOG
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dvdp: 140822 ∞



dvdp:

140822 

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visual-poetry: »works« by aram saroyan (+), published by lines…









visual-poetry:

»works« by aram saroyan (+), published by lines in 1966 can be downloaded for free (pdf) 

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thingsmagazine: Edmund Dulac



thingsmagazine:

Edmund Dulac

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August 23, 2014



August 23, 2014

When I was writing my book on Sparks, which is also a travel journal as well as a memoir of sorts in London, I would always sit on the top deck of the bus and would take the one route that will take me down Albany Street on route to  Angel Station in Islington.  I would pass the blue plaque for the British composer Constant Lambert, whose music I don’t find interesting whatsoever.  What I do find fascinating about the composer is his alcoholism and fear of doctors.  Also the fact that he had trouble composing music, so therefore in my category of Heroes: The great failures of their time.  I think his greatest contribution, besides his lifestyle and wit, was the fact that his son was Kit Lambert, who was the co-manager (along with Chris Stamp) and record producer of The Who.  197 Albany Street was the last address for Constant, who died in 1951.  He lived at this address from 1947 till his death.   For me, those were the crucial years of London.  Recovering from the war and the ill (and long recovery effects of that war) I think produced great literature as well as art in London.  Constant wasn’t a great artist, a skilled one yes, but his genius lies in his life as well as a critic.  He has commented that “the whole trouble with a folk song is that once you have played it though there is nothing much you can do except play it over again and play it rather louder. ”



Which to me pretty much describes the nature of rock n’ roll as well as folk music.  It is one of the main reasons why I love it so, and not so much Lambert’s music.  The world falls apart and yet one can depend on the nature of the rock, that it won’t fail you.  In the 1980s, I was pretty much in awe of the band Orange Juice.  My first impression is not the music, but their name.  I thought it was (and still is) a brilliant name for a band, or even a novel or a poem.  The first thing it makes me think of is Frank O’Hara, for no reason, except he brings up an object or a food and he takes off from that and goes into another part of the brain.  The lead writer for Orange Juice was Edywn Collins, who was/is an incredible lyricist and as a young man, quite stunning looking.  At the time, I took great pride in not owning any albums, whose band names I didn’t like, or their haircut.  Very surfaced of me, but I find the surface actually tells a lot about a person.  He had one huge mega-hit as a solo singer called “A Girl Like You” which has a great lyric (of course) “This old town’s changed so much/Don’t feel like I belong/To many protest singers/Not enough protest songs.” Or from “Consolation Prize, ” “I wore my fringe like Roger McGuinn’s/I was hoping to impress/So frightfully camp, it made you laugh/Tomorrow I’ll buy myself a dress/How ludicrous.” At that time in my life (I was in my 20s) I was more like 17, due to my sense of identity, which honestly (and no one else either) could take seriously.



When I looked in the mirror I tried to imagine myself as Gene Kelly, but the (obvious) truth was that I was fat.  But still, I think of Kelly as a role model due that he was recognized as a hard worker who was tough if you don’t follow his stance, which to go for perfection.  To be fair, I didn’t go for perfection, either in my writing or physique, instead, I went a notch or two down from perfection.  Adequate would be a satisfactory description for yours truly.    Still, in my deepest depression, I would dance in the rain and my ability to jump over fire hydrants, usually caused a skinned knee here and there.  Oddly enough I would be caught in the rain, while walking around Islington to wait for the Sparks show at the theater.

What I have in common with Lambert, Collins, and Gene is that I attempt to learn from my peers to do better and not follow their footsteps to specific disasters.  But no one can be your driver or pilot.  At best, you can drive your own car, and have the guidance of the angels to make sure you make it to your destination.
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Light reading round-up

I haven't had a huge amount of time for light reading as I am still ploughing through Clarissa! About 70% through, and quota (in the form of notes rather than draft in this case) is piling up nicely* - I am sorry to say that I resolutely ignored various other work-related imperatives until they became so strong that I could no longer postpone them....

Had a useful day Friday sorting out a lot of the remaining stuff for my new lecture course - it is the sort of thing that will take up as much time as you let it, the only way to hold on to real writing time in August is to put this stuff out of mind, though I felt very guilty leaving it so late (it is inconvenient and stressful for the seminar leaders I will be working with!).

Hoping to finish with Clarissa before I return to New York on Wednesday (I have it divided into ten sections for teaching purposes and am following those divisions here too, reading a chunk and then typing up notes while the thoughts are fresh in my mind), but I also still have three more tenure letters that I'd like to get done before school starts (have done most of the work on one, but since it is not the one due this coming Monday, that's not as useful as you might think).

The Swift conference paper is clearly not going to get written this month, but that's OK, have been reading Anthony Grafton on footnotes and thinking about various things to do with Swift and commentary. Can do this after my classes are underway and I have done both of my September triathlons: it makes sense for me to choose races for early fall, as I have much more training time over the summer than during the school year, but it is a pity to have the attention divided between starting school and big races - it will be good when I am over that particular hump!

A couple highlights of recreational reading around the edges:

First of all, Kipling's Kim. It is such a strong source of inspiration for so much contemporary genre fiction (Tim Powers' excellent Declare was the one that most recently brought it to mind, but it's hugely important for Laurie King's Holmes books and crops up in all sorts of other places as well). I must have read it once or twice as a child, but it's not one of the ones I know really well (that would be the Just-So Stories, from early childhood, and then the glorious Puck of Pook's Hill and Rewards and Fairies, which I reread every two years when we visited our English grandparents' house). It is amazingly good, so much so that I think I might need to start rereading a lot of Kipling and Chesterton in lieu of sometimes mediocre recent stuff. Most eloquent and evocative object/image: Kim's "little Survey paint-box of six colour-cakes and three brushes"....

Judy Melinek and T. J. Mitchell, Working Stiff - very good book by a former NY medical examiner about the work she does. I love this stuff, and the book's gripping and worthwhile in any case, but the account of the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks is especially interesting - would be worth reading the book for that alone, I think. (I am laughing, this one also called my thoughts back to another favorite book of childhood: Mostly Murder, the autobiography of pathologist Sydney Smith!

A couple other novels worthy of note: Marcus Guillory, Red Now and Laters, which I acquired because of the title and very much enjoyed, especially in its account of childhood in Houston in the 1970s and early 1980s - it is overwritten/lyrical in parts, but I am willing to forgive that when there is so much else to like; and the long-awaited last installment of Lev Grossman's Magicians trilogy, The Magician's Land.

These can really only be described as "fodder": Patrick Lee, The Breach (not sure about this one, a bit too grandiose for me in its schemes, though he is certainly a good storyteller); and Melissa Olson, Dead Spots (nothing wrong with it, an enjoyable read, but I fear it is rather the sort of book that makes me feel I am rotting my brain!).

* Tracking quota August 2014

8/8/2014 2194 words (lost a few?)
8/10/2014 7687 words (through end of ONE)
8/11/2014 reading day
8/12/2014 12628 words (through end of TWO)
8/13/2014 reading day
8/14/2014 18117 (through end of THREE)
8/15/2014 reading day
8/16/2014 20217 (through end of FOUR)
8/17/2014 reading day
8/18/2014 23474 (through end of FIVE)
8/19/2014 26599 (through end of SIX)
8/20/2014 reading day and first half of typing
8/21/2014 31752 (through end of SEVEN)
8/22/2014 LTCM work
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Watcher in the Shadows (3)

watcher"I was flown to London secretly and trained for a year."
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Kern Your Enthusiasm (23)

wilkins-550Whitney Trettien on WILKINS'S REAL CHARACTER
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Ernie Bushmiller

NancyPanel25His simple cartoon was deeply sophisticated.
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notationnotes: BITS



notationnotes:

BITS

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new Rupture mix: LOOPS IN THE 24-HR NEWS CYCLE

this Sunday Aug 24, find us playing an *8pm early show* in Brooklyn:
performances by
- DJ Rupture
- No Lands (album release!)
- Lorna Dune
@ Baby’s All Right
tix | FB
///// and here’s a new mix

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August 22, 2014



August 22, 2014

Without a doubt, the most impressive meeting I ever had was with the Japanese Cannibal Issei Sagawa. In 1981, he murdered and cannibalized a Dutch woman named Renée Hartevelt in Paris, while he was a student at the Sorbonne. He invited her over to his apartment for dinner, with plans to translate German poetry for a class. What he did was shot her in the neck, killing her, and then carried out his plan to eat her. After having sex with the corpse, and for over two days, Sagawa ate various parts of her body. He was discovered by the police when he attempted to dump the mutilated body in a remote lake. The police later that day found parts of the body in his refrigerator. 




After two years being held in Paris without trial, Sagawa was deemed legally insane and unfit to stand trial by French judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, who himself is quite an interesting character. As an investigating magistrate, he became famous for battling anti-terrorism, specifically the far-lett group Action Directe. He eventually captured the notorious terrorist Carlos (the Jackal). In 2007, he left his occupation as a magistrate to work and support the Nicolas Sarkozy presidential election. Meanwhile, Sagawa was admitted to a mental institution in France, but eventually the French authorities took the decision to have him extradited to Japan. Once he got to Japan, he was sent to Matsuzawa Hospital, where he was examined, and all the psychologists found him to be sane. The Japanese authorities found it impossible to detain him because the French declined to release the court documents on the case. Technically his case was dropped in France. Therefore on August 12, 1986, he checked himself out of the mental institution.

Sagawa’s interest in killing and eating the girl was because she was healthy and beautiful. He, on the other hand, is ugly and slightly deformed. He was quoted as saying that he is a "weak, ugly, and inadequate little man." By eating her, he claimed that he wanted to “absorb her energy.” Sagawa not only killed a girl, but also destroyed his family as well. He is from a wealthy and loving family, but due to his crime, the father and mother lost their wealth and standing in the Japanese community as well as ruining any hope or chance for his brother to obtain marriage. As for Sagawa, as a writer, he couldn’t find a publisher for his writing and has been rejected from over 500 different places of employment. When his parents died in 2005, he was not permitted to attend to their funeral. He did repay their creditors over time, and eventually moved into public housing. It was during this time when I met Sagawa.

My wife and our friend were invited over to his apartment for lunch. It was his birthday that day, and I was asked to go along. I have heard of him of course, but I was totally repelled at the thought of meeting him. Yet, at the same time, I was deeply intrigued with his narrative. Once Sagawa was released he became well-known as a person to interview, if one wants to know the inside brain of a psychotic killer. He could articulate his own crime as well, because he has full knowledge of what he did, and doesn’t blame society, parents, family for his crime. It is all due to his sexual fantasy as well as his self-hatred for himself due to his unhealthy body. He became such a celebrity in Tokyo, that he actually ended up as a food critic for Spa Magazine. Nothing can last occupation wise for him, and the only thing he does have, is his skill as a writer. He wrote two books on his crime. One volume is about the murder itself, and the second book, which I think I would find more interesting, is what happened afterwards. With great temptation, I agreed to go with my wife and friend to his house.

It took awhile to get to his two bedroom apartment in the Tokyo area. Through out the train trip, I was very nervous about meeting him, and even more so, because lunch was going to be served. Once I got there, the first thing I notice is that he had a “welcome” mat by the front door. I knocked, and he answered the door. My friend introduced me and my wife to him. We shook hands, and invited us in. After taking off our shoes, we were led to his front room, which was interesting. By his front table, I noticed a dog sleeping, because you can see it was breathing. It took me a minute or two to realize that this wasn’t a living dog, but a dog-sized doll that is always sleeping. That slightly un-nerved me. Once we took a place on his couch, he sat right by me. He was totally focused on me, because he wanted to speak English and he was very interested in the Obama campaign at the time. I thought to myself “I hope to God no one knows that he’s a Obama fan.”

There were about five or six people in the house, and it was a small birthday party for him. There was a discussion about food, and there was none in the house. It was agreed that everyone will go to the local market as well as the nearby KFC outlet and bring food back. I was told to stay in the house with Sagawa and keep him company. Once everyone left the house, and I heard the door shut behind them, I felt very uneasy with him. Sagawa is a very charming man, and he noticed my behavior, which I tried to hide, but obviously failing in doing so. He offered to give me a tour of his apartment. In his living room, he had a sizable collection of first edition copies of Yasunari Kawabata’s work. He told me that he went to the Soborne to hopefully translate his works into French. To this day, he has a passionate interest in Kawabata’s writings. Also he had a collection of 19th century French dolls, which were displayed all over the apartment. He then took me to his bedroom.





Sagawa had a lot of things in his bedroom. On the floor he had straight porn mags, and then when you look at his wall, he has images that are carefully curated in sections. First row was pictures of cats and dogs, but photographed with brightly colored bows around their necks. After that, a series of images of J-Pop female teen idols. They appear to have been carefully cut out of fan magazines. Then there is a section of the wall that is devoted to the German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. Basically prints of her underwater photographs. Also an autographed self-portrait of Leni, during her world war ll years, scribed to Sagawa. Then after that a series of photographed portraits of numerous German conductors. Sagawa has a great love for German orchestration and no surprise, is a huge fan of Wagner’s music. He's clearly not a fan of Debussy or a modernist like Stockhausen. Looking back now, I don’t think I have ever been to a more fascinating bedroom than Sagawa’s room. In one tiny area of his apartment, I caught the drift of his personality and passions. 





Before the other guests came back, he told me that if “the crime” or “incident” didn’t happen, he more likely would be teaching at an all-girl university. When he told me that, I just froze. Thirty seconds later he said to me that unfortunately each student would disappear one-by-one. At that point, I was just trying to show no emotion on my face. He gently hit me on the shoulder, and said he was only kidding. To release his stress, he tells me that his humor is quite dark at times. Also he did so to make me feel more comfortable in his presence. The truth is, Sagawa at least that afternoon, was totally charming. Clearly he was interested in me due that I’m a publisher, and my wife did read his two books, and she told me that they were incredible.





What’s interesting to me about Sagawa is not the crime he committed, but what happens after such a hideous act of violence. After one crosses that line, how does one live. For me it is not a guilt issue or how society sees that person, but more of a situation where all your life you are led to a specific act, and once you have done it, how can one go back to a “normal” life. I think Sagawa clearly thought that once he got arrested, the narration will end there. But alas, life is so full of twist and turns, and it is difficult to navigate one’s fate or direction in a world that is clearly insane. For myself, I usually turn to George Herriman’s great comic strip “Krazy Kat, ” which is about a non-gender cat, a puppy who is a cop, and a no-good mouse. As the landscape changes on a consistent basis in the comic strip, I imagine Sagawa is too traveling in a world of his making, but in a world or landscape that consistently changes, due to its mood. What should have ended for him, to be frank didn't. Clearly and without a doubt, the most fascinating man I have ever met in person is Issei Sagawa
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(via WRDSMTH)



(via WRDSMTH)

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Ray Bradbury

Ray_BradburyWith Borges, one of the great masters of the short story.
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Lore packages

Charles Finch on the fiction of Norman Rush. (Via Nick D.) Here's a bit I especially liked, but the whole piece is thought-provoking:
The ideas in Rush’s second novel, Mortals, are as subtle and rich as those in Mating. But there is something slightly diminished in its ultimate effect by comparison; unlike the earlier book, Mortals is written in the third-person, and it is perhaps in this transition that a glimmer of trouble appears. Every mode of narration has its virtues and defects, of course, and there may be readers who find the first-person of Mating claustrophobic. What it offered Rush, however, was concealment—a means of expression for his own fascinating, intercalating, uniquely essayistic voice, which nevertheless, because a reader could ascribe all of its decrees to the narrator, existed naturalistically within the novel.

The free indirect voice offers Rush some shell for this style, but not enough. In Mortals it becomes a minor problem; in Subtle Bodies, very nearly a fatal one. That’s the blemish on Rush’s career, perhaps, an inability to recede behind his characters. The constant interruption of opinion into his work means that he never quite vanishes into the third person and therefore never achieves the fluid multivocalism that gives each character equal weight, what Bakhtin praised as polyphony. Rush’s natural pendant, another white-bearded novelist of lower Africa, J. M. Coetzee, is by contrast exquisitely skillful at self-concealment, at the neutral clarities of third-person fiction. By either method there is some price to pay. In Coetzee’s case it’s a chilliness; in Rush’s, a diminution of realism. Rush’s loss may be the greater.
I must confess I have never read Rush; this essay gives me a great desire, though, to reread some Iris Murdoch!
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Lore packages

Charles Finch on the fiction of Norman Rush. (Via Nick D.) Here's a bit I especially liked, but the whole piece is thought-provoking:
The ideas in Rush’s second novel, Mortals, are as subtle and rich as those in Mating. But there is something slightly diminished in its ultimate effect by comparison; unlike the earlier book, Mortals is written in the third-person, and it is perhaps in this transition that a glimmer of trouble appears. Every mode of narration has its virtues and defects, of course, and there may be readers who find the first-person of Mating claustrophobic. What it offered Rush, however, was concealment—a means of expression for his own fascinating, intercalating, uniquely essayistic voice, which nevertheless, because a reader could ascribe all of its decrees to the narrator, existed naturalistically within the novel.

The free indirect voice offers Rush some shell for this style, but not enough. In Mortals it becomes a minor problem; in Subtle Bodies, very nearly a fatal one. That’s the blemish on Rush’s career, perhaps, an inability to recede behind his characters. The constant interruption of opinion into his work means that he never quite vanishes into the third person and therefore never achieves the fluid multivocalism that gives each character equal weight, what Bakhtin praised as polyphony. Rush’s natural pendant, another white-bearded novelist of lower Africa, J. M. Coetzee, is by contrast exquisitely skillful at self-concealment, at the neutral clarities of third-person fiction. By either method there is some price to pay. In Coetzee’s case it’s a chilliness; in Rush’s, a diminution of realism. Rush’s loss may be the greater.
I must confess I have never read Rush; this essay gives me a great desire, though, to reread some Iris Murdoch!
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Strange fruit

Pears that look like babies.
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Biography, genius

At the TLS, the ever-brilliant Michael Hofmann on a new biography of Bertold Brecht. I am persuaded that the book is a must-read, but I am not at all convinced it is going to change my mind about Brecht! (Tyler Cowen's thoughts are remarkably similar to my own!) Here is an especially interesting bit:
So we aren’t given Brecht the old unscrupulous automaton, the theatre shouter and “indoor Marxman” (Malcolm Lowry’s phrase, not about Brecht), the arid and grasping authoritarian and hypocrite. Instead we get a wholly fresh and absorbing sense of what it might have been like to be Brecht, from the sickly child to the prematurely old, dismally undiagnosed heart patient. Parker’s book is green, not grey. Certain themes are sounded insistently, implacably and rightly throughout: Brecht “the extravagantly gifted child”, his “extravagant intelligence”, “this hugely gifted boy”, “his extreme talent”. It may sound like a lot, like overkill, even, but it is only just, and anything less would have been remiss. Brecht was a prodigy to set beside Rimbaud and Keats, a superior and controlled and reflexively self- invented being, a “singular sensibility”. Parker is careful not to say that Brecht was brilliant because he was unwell, but unwellness is part of his picture of the man and his genius, as it tends to be part of ours nowadays, no matter the individual.

The way Brecht negotiated his conditions (weak heart, panic attacks, dizzy spells, the twitching and trembling associated with Sydenham’s chorea, renal and urinary tract infections, lack of appetite) was – another one of Parker’s running themes – to pretend all was well, to ration his excesses discreetly after his roaring adolescence and early twenties, and to ask as much of himself as though he had been well. Parker shows how easily Brecht might have become the Late Romantic, private, neurasthenic type of poet he despised; it was what nature had equipped him for, to be a Stefan George, a Gérard de Nerval, a Charles Algernon Swinburne, a poet of Night and Storm and Sickness and Mother. Reading and discipline and mental strength and his own rebellious orientation fixed that. Interest was some where else; originality was somewhere else; autonomy and usefulness were somewhere else. Moreover, emotionalism, the despised “swill of feelings”, simply used him up, leaving nothing, no residue, no achievement. Chopin, Wagner and Dostoevsky were prime instances of unhealthy art; they simply made him ill; Brecht even took his temperature to prove it. He had to run himself carefully, as his life turned into “a gamble played out between weakness and strength”. His “cult of coldness” was actually self-preservation.
Bonus link: my favorite Hofmann review, the devastating takedown of Stefan Zweig! I still haven't read George Prochnik's book, though I have a copy at home - I feel I owe it to Zweig to hear the other side of the story - but I don't think I've ever read a negative review I enjoyed quite so much as this one.
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Kern Your Enthusiasm (22)

comic thumbJessamyn West on COMIC SANS
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