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Trailer: Munchies Guide to Oaxaca

Check out the official trailer for the Guide to Oaxaca I am hosting for MUNCHIES, the newly launched food channel at VICE. It's a quick taste of the five-part, hour-long series I recorded in November with colleagues Santiago F. and Guillermo A. from VICE México. Yes, I tried the turtle eggs. * Previously, "BBC: Mexico's youth culture explosion," "Video report: Tacos de guisado in Polanco."

Catch-up

Really I have two committee reports to write by tomorrow morning, but the ritual throat-clearing at the computer before I start to type something more than minimally complicated often includes a catch-up light reading post....

Some YA paperbacks I picked up last time I was at the Bank Street Bookstore: Merrie Haskell, The Princess Curse; William Alexander, Goblin Secrets; Jasper Fforde, The Last Dragonslayer (very appealing series) and then on Kindle the next installment, The Song of the Quarkbeast.

An unmemorable novel by Alexander McCall Smith that I read only because it was set in Cayman, The Forever Girl; one new novel by Victoria Clayton, Stormy Weather, and then two I'd read before (they are delightful, their only flaw is that they are very much all the same as each other), Dance With Me and Out of Love; Ian McDonald, Out on Blue Six; and Jane Gardam, Old Filth. Not sure quite why I haven't read this and sequels already - am now halfway through the second installment.

OK, better get down to business here with report #1....

Catch-up

Really I have two committee reports to write by tomorrow morning, but the ritual throat-clearing at the computer before I start to type something more than minimally complicated often includes a catch-up light reading post....

Some YA paperbacks I picked up last time I was at the Bank Street Bookstore: Merrie Haskell, The Princess Curse; William Alexander, Goblin Secrets; Jasper Fforde, The Last Dragonslayer (very appealing series) and then on Kindle the next installment, The Song of the Quarkbeast.

An unmemorable novel by Alexander McCall Smith that I read only because it was set in Cayman, The Forever Girl; one new novel by Victoria Clayton, Stormy Weather, and then two I'd read before (they are delightful, their only flaw is that they are very much all the same as each other), Dance With Me and Out of Love; Ian McDonald, Out on Blue Six; and Jane Gardam, Old Filth. Not sure quite why I haven't read this and sequels already - am now halfway through the second installment.

OK, better get down to business here with report #1....

April 15, 2014



April 15, 2014

Basically it has been all downhill since Abraham Lincoln died. Some declare that it was the John F. Kennedy assassination, but for me, it’s Lincoln’s death that has caused me a great deal of depression and regret.  Which is strange, because surely I wasn’t even alive when Lincoln died, but still, sentiment is sentiment and it’s hard to lose that feeling of disappointment.  Friends (the few I have) have commented that I’m such a sad boy, but in actuality I do find enjoyment in the little things in life, for instance I think back to my first real love, Lita.



We were briefly married, but it didn’t last long.  Mostly due that we didn’t share any interests, besides the sex.  When I married her, I was 35, and she was 16.  It caused a scandal at the time within our social world, but in my point of view, love is love, and it is really no one else’s business besides ours.  But alas, in our world, we don’t maintain on love alone.  When I first met her she was employed in the May Company make-up counter, and at the time, I was very much into the new romantic look, so I would shop for my make-up there.  The look I was going for was the Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Tramp’ look.  I didn’t have the mustache, but I did purchase this old suit and I carried a walking stick with me at all times.  When I walked around the make-up section, I felt like Alex from “A Clockwork Orange, ” with my cane resting on my shoulders as I peacefully paced around the area.



Lita showed me eye make-up, and when she got around the counter to my side of the world, I felt a charge when she applied the eye liner around my eyes.   I grabbed her hand and then asked her if she would go on a date with me.  She said yes, and I swear to God, I didn’t know her age at the time.  Her ability to wear make-up totally made her look older than her actual age, but still, my history shows that this is not the case.

I have not previously been comfortable with women within my age bracket.  I’m not sure why?  I think it may have to do with the way young people look at the world.  Some are sad, and most naively so. But for me the depression at my age is quite crippling, and this is one of the reasons why I was attracted to the presence of men wearing make-up.  I wanted to disguise my aging, or at the very least, have the ability to laugh at the cruelty of the aging process.  In my twenties, I never even thought about it, but once I reached thirty, it became a huge concern of mine.  Younger girls always were attracted to me, and it may be due to my interest in their culture.   But who knows?  I never seriously considered ‘why’ they would be interested in me.  I was only grateful that I got the attention that I desperately needed.



When we got married in Mexico I was concerned what her parents would think, but it seemed at the time that my new bride could care less what they thought, and that made me happy at that specific time.  Nevertheless, time caught up with us, and we realize that perhaps the marriage was a mistake.   I remember taking her to the Egptian theater to see Chaplin’s “Gold Rush, ” which by the way, has always been a favorite of mine. Since childhood, when I saw this film on a morning TV show, I developed a crush on his leading lady at the time.  It never left me that feeling, and it was after the screening that I told Lita that it is perhaps best for us to obtain a divorce.

As I sit down trying to work on a book about Lincoln, I am thinking back about our marriage, which surprises me that I don’t even have a photograph of Lita or any of the possessions that we or I owned at the time.  I gave her everything, and once the papers were signed I never saw her again.   As with the make-up, I still add a little rouge here and there, and in the night, once in bed, I do think of my health, or lack of it, as time marches on.

Huntingtower (15)

buchan

Huntingtower was a departure for John Buchan. Published between the third and fourth of his tremendous Richard Hannay novels, the book’s protagonist is not a soldier-turned-spy, but instead a retired Scottish grocer who joins a quixotic effort to rescue a Russian noblewoman from Bolsheviks. Adventure literature exegetes agree that with this novel, Buchan was attempting to take the curse of irony off the word “adventure” — that is, to bring adventure into everyday life.

HiLobrow is pleased to serialize John Buchan’s Huntingtower, which was first published in 1922. A new installment will appear each week for sixteen weeks.

ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

***

Chapter 15: The Gorbals Die-Hards Go into Action

We left Mr. McCunn, full of aches but desperately resolute in spirit, hobbling by the Auchenlochan road into the village of Dalquharter. His goal was Mrs. Morran’s hen-house, which was Thomas Yownie’s poste de commandement. The rain had come on again, and, though in other weather there would have been a slow twilight, already the shadow of night had the world in its grip. The sea even from the high ground was invisible, and all to westward and windward was a ragged screen of dark cloud. It was foul weather for foul deeds.

Thomas Yownie was not in the hen-house, but in Mrs. Morran’s kitchen, and with him were the pug-faced boy known as Old Bill, and the sturdy figure of Peter Paterson. But the floor was held by the hostess. She still wore her big boots, her petticoats were still kilted, and round her venerable head in lieu of a bonnet was drawn a tartan shawl.

“Eh, Dickson, but I’m blithe to see ye. And, puir man, ye’ve been sair mishandled. This is the awfu’est Sabbath day that ever you and me pit in. I hope it’ll be forgiven us…. Whaur’s the young leddy?”

“Dougal was saying she was in the House with Sir Archibald and the men from the Mains.”

“Wae’s me!” Mrs. Morran keened. “And what kind o’ place is yon for her? Thae laddies tell me there’s boatfu’s o’ scoondrels landit at the Garplefit. They’ll try the auld Tower, but they’ll no’ wait there when they find it toom, and they’ll be inside the Hoose in a jiffy and awa’ wi’ the puir lassie. Sirs, it maunna be. Ye’re lippenin’ to the polis, but in a’ my days I never kenned the polis in time. We maun be up and daein’ oorsels. Oh, if I could get a haud o’ that red-heided Dougal….”

As she spoke, there came on the wind the dull reverberation of an explosion.

“Keep us, what’s that?” she cried.

“It’s dinnymite,” said Peter Paterson.

“That’s the end o’ the auld Tower,” observed Thomas Yownie in his quiet even voice. “And it’s likely the end o’ the man Heritage.”

“Lord peety us!” the old woman wailed. “And us standin’ here like stookies and no’ liftin’ a hand. Awa’ wi’ ye, laddies, and dae something. Awa’ you too, Dickson, or I’ll tak’ the road mysel’.”

“I’ve got orders,” said the Chief of Staff, “no’ to move till the sityation’s clear. Napoleon’s up at the Tower and Jaikie in the policies. I maun wait on their reports.”

For a moment Mrs. Morran’s attention was distracted by Dickson, who suddenly felt very faint and sat down heavily on a kitchen chair. “Man, ye’re as white as a dish-clout,” she exclaimed with compunction. “Ye’re fair wore out, and ye’ll have had nae meat sin’ your breakfast. See, and I’ll get ye a cup o’ tea.”

She proved to be in the right, for as soon as Dickson had swallowed some mouthfuls of her strong scalding brew the colour came back to his cheeks, and he announced that he felt better. “Ye’ll fortify it wi’ a dram,” she told him, and produced a black bottle from her cupboard. “My father aye said that guid whiskey and het tea keepit the doctor’s gig oot o’ the close.”

The back door opened and Napoleon entered, his thin shanks blue with cold. He saluted and made his report in a voice shrill with excitement.

“The Tower has fallen. They’ve blown in the big door, and the feck o’ them’s inside.”

“And Mr. Heritage?” was Dickson’s anxious inquiry.

“When I last saw him he was up at a windy, shootin’. I think he’s gotten on to the roof. I wouldna wonder but the place is on fire.”

“Here, this is awful,” Dickson groaned. “We can’t let Mr. Heritage be killed that way. What strength is the enemy?”

“I counted twenty-seven, and there’s stragglers comin’ up from the boats.”

“And there’s me and you five laddies here, and Dougal and the others shut up in the House.” He stopped in sheer despair. It was a fix from which the most enlightened business mind showed no escape. Prudence, inventiveness were no longer in question; only some desperate course of violence.

“We must create a diversion,” he said. “I’m for the Tower, and you laddies must come with me. We’ll maybe see a chance. Oh, but I wish I had my wee pistol.”

“If ye’re gaun there, Dickson, I’m comin’ wi’ ye,” Mrs. Morran announced.

Her words revealed to Dickson the preposterousness of the whole situation, and for all his anxiety he laughed. “Five laddies, a middle-aged man and an auld wife,” he cried. “Dod, it’s pretty hopeless. It’s like the thing in the Bible about the weak things of the world trying to confound the strong.”

“The Bible’s whiles richt,” Mrs. Morran answered drily. “Come on, for there’s no time to lose.”

The door opened again to admit the figure of Wee Jaikie. There were no tears in his eyes, and his face was very white.

“They’re a’ round the Hoose,” he croaked. “I was up a tree forenent the verandy and seen them. The lassie ran oot and cried on them from the top o’ the brae, and they a’ turned and hunted her back. Gosh, but it was a near thing. I seen the Captain sklimmin’ the wall, and a muckle man took the lassie and flung her up the ladder. They got inside just in time and steekit the door, and now the whole pack is roarin’ round the Hoose seekin’ a road in. They’ll no’ be long over the job, neither.”

“What about Mr. Heritage?”

“They’re no’ heedin’ about him any more. The auld Tower’s bleezin’.”

“Worse and worse,” said Dickson. “If the police don’t come in the next ten minutes, they’ll be away with the Princess. They’ve beaten all Dougal’s plans, and it’s a straight fight with odds of six to one. It’s not possible.”

Mrs. Morran for the first time seemed to lose hope. “Eh, the puir lassie!” she wailed, and sinking on a chair covered her face with her shawl.

“Laddies, can you no’ think of a plan?” asked Dickson, his voice flat with despair.

Then Thomas Yownie spoke. So far he had been silent, but under his tangled thatch of hair, his mind had been busy. Jaikie’s report seemed to bring him to a decision.

“It’s gey dark,” he said, “and it’s gettin’ darker.”

There was that in his voice which promised something, and Dickson listened.

“The enemy’s mostly foreigners, but Dobson’s there and I think he’s a kind of guide to them. Dobson’s feared of the polis, and if we can terrify Dobson he’ll terrify the rest.”

“Ay, but where are the police?”

“They’re no’ here yet, but they’re comin’. The fear o’ them is aye in Dobson’s mind. If he thinks the polis has arrived, he’ll put the wind up the lot…. We maun be the polis.”

Dickson could only stare while the Chief of Staff unfolded his scheme. I do not know to whom the Muse of History will give the credit of the tactics of “infiltration” — whether to Ludendorff or von Hutier or some other proud captain of Germany, or to Foch, who revised and perfected them. But I know that the same notion was at this moment of crisis conceived by Thomas Yownie, whom no parents acknowledged, who slept usually in a coal cellar, and who had picked up his education among Gorbals closes and along the wharves of Clyde.

“It’s gettin’ dark,” he said, “and the enemy are that busy tryin’ to break into the Hoose that they’ll no’ be thinkin’ o’ their rear. The five o’ us Die-Hards is grand at dodgin’ and keepin’ out of sight, and what hinders us to get in among them, so that they’ll hear us but never see us? We’re used to the ways o’ the polis, and can imitate them fine. Forbye we’ve all got our whistles, which are the same as a bobbie’s birl, and Old Bill and Peter are grand at copyin’ a man’s voice. Since the Captain is shut up in the Hoose, the command falls to me, and that’s my plan.”

With a piece of chalk he drew on the kitchen floor a rough sketch of the environs of Huntingtower. Peter Paterson was to move from the shrubberies beyond the verandah, Napoleon from the stables, Old Bill from the Tower, while Wee Jaikie and Thomas himself were to advance as if from the Garplefoot, so that the enemy might fear for his communications. “As soon as one o’ ye gets into position he’s to gie the patrol cry, and when each o’ ye has heard five cries, he’s to advance. Begin birlin’ and roarin’ afore ye get among them, and keep it up till ye’re at the Hoose wall. If they’ve gotten inside, in ye go after them. I trust each Die-Hard to use his judgment, and above all to keep out o’ sight and no let himsel’ be grippit.”

The plan, like all great tactics, was simple, and no sooner was it expounded than it was put into action. The Die-Hards faded out of the kitchen like fog-wreaths, and Dickson and Mrs. Morran were left looking at each other. They did not look long. The bare feet of Wee Jaikie had not crossed the threshold fifty seconds, before they were followed by Mrs. Morran’s out-of-doors boots and Dickson’s tackets. Arm in arm the two hobbled down the back path behind the village which led to the South Lodge. The gate was unlocked, for the warder was busy elsewhere, and they hastened up the avenue. Far off Dickson thought he saw shapes fleeting across the park, which he took to be the shock-troops of his own side, and he seemed to hear snatches of song. Jaikie was giving tongue, and this was what he sang:

“Proley Tarians, arise!
Wave the Red Flag to the skies,
Heed nae mair the Fat Man’s lees,
Stap them doun his throat!
Nocht to loss except our chains,
We maun drain oor dearest veins —
A’ the worrld shall be our gains ——”

But he tripped over a rabbit wire and thereafter conserved his breath.

The wind was so loud that no sound reached them from the House, which blank and immense now loomed before them. Dickson’s ears were alert for the noise of shots or the dull crash of bombs; hearing nothing, he feared the worst, and hurried Mrs. Morran at a pace which endangered her life. He had no fear for himself, arguing that his foes were seeking higher game, and judging, too, that the main battle must be round the verandah at the other end. The two passed the shrubbery where the road forked, one path running to the back door and one to the stables. They took the latter and presently came out on the downs, with the ravine of the Garple on their left, the stables in front, and on the right the hollow of a formal garden running along the west side of the House.

The gale was so fierce, now that they had no wind-break between them and the ocean, that Mrs. Morran could wrestle with it no longer, and found shelter in the lee of a clump of rhododendrons. Darkness had all but fallen, and the house was a black shadow against the dusky sky, while a confused greyness marked the sea. The old Tower showed a tooth of masonry; there was no glow from it, so the fire, which Jaikie had reported, must have died down. A whaup cried loudly, and very eerily: then another.

The birds stirred up Mrs. Morran. “That’s the laddies’ patrol,” she gasped. “Count the cries, Dickson.”

Another bird wailed, this time very near. Then there was perhaps three minutes’ silence, till a fainter wheeple came from the direction of the Tower. “Four,” said Dickson, but he waited in vain on the fifth. He had not the acute hearing of the boys, and could not catch the faint echo of Peter Paterson’s signal beyond the verandah. The next he heard was a shrill whistle cutting into the wind, and then others in rapid succession from different quarters, and something which might have been the hoarse shouting of angry men.

The Gorbals Die-Hards had gone into action.

Dull prose is no medium to tell of that wild adventure. The sober sequence of the military historian is out of place in recording deeds that knew not sequence or sobriety. Were I a bard, I would cast this tale in excited verse, with a lilt which would catch the speed of the reality. I would sing of Napoleon, not unworthy of his great namesake, who penetrated to the very window of the ladies’ bedroom, where the framework had been driven in and men were pouring through; of how there he made such pandemonium with his whistle that men tumbled back and ran about blindly seeking for guidance; of how in the long run his pugnacity mastered him, so that he engaged in combat with an unknown figure and the two rolled into what had once been a fountain. I would hymn Peter Paterson, who across tracts of darkness engaged Old Bill in a conversation which would have done no discredit to a Gallogate policeman. He pretended to be making reports and seeking orders. “We’ve gotten three o’ the deevils, sir. What’ll we dae wi’ them?” he shouted; and back would come the reply in a slightly more genteel voice: “Fall them to the rear. Tamson has charge of the prisoners.” Or it would be: “They’ve gotten pistols, sir. What’s the orders?” and the answer would be: “Stick to your batons. The guns are posted on the knowe, so we needn’t hurry.” And over all the din there would be a perpetual whistling and a yelling of “Hands up!”

I would sing, too, of Wee Jaikie, who was having the red-letter hour of his life. His fragile form moved like a lizard in places where no mortal could be expected, and he varied his duties with impish assaults upon the persons of such as came in his way. His whistle blew in a man’s ear one second and the next yards away. Sometimes he was moved to song, and unearthly fragments of “Class-conscious we are” or “Proley Tarians, arise!” mingled with the din, like the cry of seagulls in a storm. He saw a bright light flare up within the house which warned him not to enter, but he got as far as the garden-room, in whose dark corners he made havoc. Indeed he was almost too successful, for he created panic where he went, and one or two fired blindly at the quarter where he had last been heard. These shots were followed by frenzied prohibitions from Spidel and were not repeated. Presently he felt that aimless surge of men that is the prelude to flight, and heard Dobson’s great voice roaring in the hall. Convinced that the crisis had come, he made his way outside, prepared to harass the rear of any retirement. Tears now flowed down his face, and he could not have spoken for sobs, but he had never been so happy.

But chiefly would I celebrate Thomas Yownie, for it was he who brought fear into the heart of Dobson. He had a voice of singular compass, and from the verandah he made it echo round the House. The efforts of Old Bill and Peter Paterson had been skilful indeed, but those of Thomas Yownie were deadly. To some leader beyond he shouted news: “Robison’s just about finished wi’ his lot, and then he’ll get the boats.” A furious charge upset him, and for a moment he thought he had been discovered. But it was only Dobson rushing to Léon, who was leading the men in the doorway. Thomas fled to the far end of the verandah, and again lifted up his voice. “All foreigners,” he shouted, “except the man Dobson. Ay. Ay. Ye’ve got Loudon? Well done!”

It must have been this last performance which broke Dobson’s nerve and convinced him that the one hope lay in a rapid retreat to the Garplefoot. There was a tumbling of men in the doorway, a muttering of strange tongues, and the vision of the innkeeper shouting to Léon and Spidel. For a second he was seen in the faint reflection that the light in the hall cast as far as the verandah, a wild figure urging the retreat with a pistol clapped to the head of those who were too confused by the hurricane of events to grasp the situation. Some of them dropped over the wall, but most huddled like sheep through the door on the west side, a jumble of struggling, panic-stricken mortality. Thomas Yownie, staggered at the success of his tactics, yet kept his head and did his utmost to confuse the retreat, and the triumphant shouts and whistles of the other Die-Hards showed that they were not unmindful of this final duty….

The verandah was empty, and he was just about to enter the House, when through the west door came a figure, breathing hard and bent apparently on the same errand. Thomas prepared for battle, determined that no straggler of the enemy should now wrest from him victory, but, as the figure came into the faint glow at the doorway, he recognised it as Heritage. And at the same moment he heard something which made his tense nerves relax. Away on the right came sounds, a thud of galloping horses on grass and the jingle of bridle reins and the voices of men. It was the real thing at last. It is a sad commentary on his career, but now for the first time in his brief existence Thomas Yownie felt charitably disposed towards the police.

The Poet, since we left him blaspheming on the roof of the Tower, had been having a crowded hour of most inglorious life. He had started to descend at a furious pace, and his first misadventure was that he stumbled and dropped Dickson’s pistol over the parapet. He tried to mark where it might have fallen in the gloom below, and this lost him precious minutes. When he slithered through the trap into the attic room, where he had tried to hold up the attack, he discovered that it was full of smoke which sought in vain to escape by the narrow window. Volumes of it were pouring up the stairs, and when he attempted to descend he found himself choked and blinded. He rushed gasping to the window, filled his lungs with fresh air, and tried again, but he got no further than the first turn, from which he could see through the cloud red tongues of flame in the ground room. This was solemn indeed, so he sought another way out. He got on the roof, for he remembered a chimney-stack, cloaked with ivy, which was built straight from the ground, and he thought he might climb down it.

He found the chimney and began the descent, confidently, for he had once borne a good reputation at the Montanvert and Cortina. At first all went well, for stones stuck out at decent intervals like the rungs of a ladder, and roots of ivy supplemented their deficiencies. But presently he came to a place where the masonry had crumbled into a cave, and left a gap some twenty feet high. Below it he could dimly see a thick mass of ivy which would enable him to cover the further forty feet to the ground, but at that cave he stuck most finally. All round the lime and stone had lapsed into debris, and he could find no safe foothold. Worse still, the block on which he relied proved loose, and only by a dangerous traverse did he avert disaster.

There he hung for a minute or two, with a cold void in his stomach. He had always distrusted the handiwork of man as a place to scramble on, and now he was planted in the dark on a decomposing wall, with an excellent chance of breaking his neck, and with the most urgent need for haste. He could see the windows of the House and, since he was sheltered from the gale, he could hear the faint sound of blows on woodwork. There was clearly the devil to pay there, and yet here he was helplessly stuck…. Setting his teeth, he started to ascend again. Better the fire than this cold breakneck emptiness.

It took him the better part of half an hour to get back, and he passed through many moments of acute fear. Footholds which had seemed secure enough in the descent now proved impossible, and more than once he had his heart in his mouth when a rotten ivy stump or a wedge of stone gave in his hands, and dropped dully into the pit of night, leaving him crazily spread-eagled. When at last he reached the top he rolled on his back and felt very sick. Then, as he realised his safety, his impatience revived. At all costs he would force his way out though he should be grilled like a herring.

The smoke was less thick in the attic, and with his handkerchief wet with the rain and bound across his mouth he made a dash for the ground room. It was as hot as a furnace, for everything inflammable in it seemed to have caught fire, and the lumber glowed in piles of hot ashes. But the floor and walls were stone, and only the blazing jambs of the door stood between him and the outer air. He had burned himself considerably as he stumbled downwards, and the pain drove him to a wild leap through the broken arch, where he miscalculated the distance, charred his shins, and brought down a red-hot fragment of the lintel on his head. But the thing was done, and a minute later he was rolling like a dog in the wet bracken to cool his burns and put out various smouldering patches on his raiment.

Then he started running for the House, but, confused by the darkness, he bore too much to the north, and came out in the side avenue from which he and Dickson had reconnoitred on the first evening. He saw on the right a glow in the verandah which, as we know, was the reflection of the flare in the hall, and he heard a babble of voices. But he heard something more, for away on his left was the sound which Thomas Yownie was soon to hear — the trampling of horses. It was the police at last, and his task was to guide them at once to the critical point of action…. Three minutes later a figure like a scarecrow was admonishing a bewildered sergeant, while his hands plucked feverishly at a horse’s bridle.

It is time to return to Dickson in his clump of rhododendrons. Tragically aware of his impotence he listened to the tumult of the Die-Hards, hopeful when it was loud, despairing when there came a moment’s lull, while Mrs. Morran like a Greek chorus drew loudly upon her store of proverbial philosophy and her memory of Scripture texts. Twice he tried to reconnoitre towards the scene of battle, but only blundered into sunken plots and pits in the Dutch garden. Finally he squatted beside Mrs. Morran, lit his pipe, and took a firm hold on his patience.

It was not tested for long. Presently he was aware that a change had come over the scene — that the Die-Hards’ whistles and shouts were being drowned in another sound, the cries of panicky men. Dobson’s bellow was wafted to him. “Auntie Phemie,” he shouted, “the innkeeper’s getting rattled. Dod, I believe they’re running.” For at that moment twenty paces on his left the van of the retreat crashed through the creepers on the garden’s edge and leaped the wall that separated it from the cliffs of the Garplefoot.

The old woman was on her feet.

“God be thankit, is’t the polis?”

“Maybe. Maybe no’. But they’re running.”

Another bunch of men raced past, and he heard Dobson’s voice.

“I tell you, they’re broke. Listen, it’s horses. Ay, it’s the police, but it was the Die-Hards that did the job…. Here! They mustn’t escape. Have the police had the sense to send men to the Garplefoot?”

Mrs. Morran, a figure like an ancient prophetess, with her tartan shawl lashing in the gale, clutched him by the shoulder.

“Doun to the waterside and stop them. Ye’ll no’ be beat by wee laddies! On wi’ ye and I’ll follow! There’s gaun to be a juidgment on evil-doers this nicht.”

Dickson needed no urging. His heart was hot within him, and the weariness and stiffness had gone from his limbs. He, too, tumbled over the wall, and made for what he thought was the route by which he had originally ascended from the stream. As he ran he made ridiculous efforts to cry like a whaup in the hope of summoning the Die-Hards. One, indeed, he found — Napoleon, who had suffered a grievous pounding in the fountain and had only escaped by an eel-like agility which had aforetime served him in good stead with the law of his native city. Lucky for Dickson was the meeting, for he had forgotten the road and would certainly have broken his neck. Led by the Die-Hard he slid forty feet over screes and boiler-plates, with the gale plucking at him, found a path, lost it, and then tumbled down a raw bank of earth to the flat ground beside the harbour. During all this performance, he has told me, he had no thought of fear, nor any clear notion what he meant to do. He just wanted to be in at the finish of the job.

Through the narrow entrance the gale blew as through a funnel, and the usually placid waters of the harbour were a mass of angry waves. Two boats had been launched and were plunging furiously, and on one of them a lantern dipped and fell. By its light he could see men holding a further boat by the shore. There was no sign of the police; he reflected that probably they had become tangled in the Garple Dean. The third boat was waiting for some one.

Dickson — a new Ajax by the ships — divined who this some one must be and realised his duty. It was the leader, the arch-enemy, the man whose escape must at all costs be stopped. Perhaps he had the Princess with him, thus snatching victory from apparent defeat. In any case he must be tackled, and a fierce anxiety gripped his heart. “Aye finish a job,” he told himself, and peered up into the darkness of the cliffs, wondering just how he should set about it, for except in the last few days he had never engaged in combat with a fellow-creature.

“When he comes, you grip his legs,” he told Napoleon, “and get him down. He’ll have a pistol, and we’re done if he’s on his feet.”

There was a cry from the boats, a shout of guidance, and the light on the water was waved madly. “They must have good eyesight,” thought Dickson, for he could see nothing. And then suddenly he was aware of steps in front of him, and a shape like a man rising out of the void at his left hand.

In the darkness Napoleon missed his tackle, and the full shock came on Dickson. He aimed at what he thought was the enemy’s throat, found only an arm and was shaken off as a mastiff might shake off a toy terrier. He made another clutch, fell, and in falling caught his opponent’s leg so that he brought him down. The man was immensely agile, for he was up in a second and something hot and bright blew into Dickson’s face. The pistol bullet had passed through the collar of his faithful waterproof, slightly singeing his neck. But it served its purpose, for Dickson paused, gasping, to consider where he had been hit, and before he could resume the chase the last boat had pushed off into deep water.

To be shot at from close quarters is always irritating, and the novelty of the experience increased Dickson’s natural wrath. He fumed on the shore like a deerhound when the stag has taken to the sea. So hot was his blood that he would have cheerfully assaulted the whole crew had they been within his reach. Napoleon, who had been incapacitated for speed by having his stomach and bare shanks savagely trampled upon, joined him, and together they watched the bobbing black specks as they crawled out of the estuary into the grey spindrift which marked the harbour mouth.

But as he looked the wrath died out of Dickson’s soul. For he saw that the boats had indeed sailed on a desperate venture, and that a pursuer was on their track more potent than his breathless middle-age. The tide was on the ebb, and the gale was driving the Atlantic breakers shoreward, and in the jaws of the entrance the two waters met in an unearthly turmoil. Above the noise of the wind came the roar of the flooded Garple and the fret of the harbour, and far beyond all the crashing thunder of the conflict at the harbour mouth. Even in the darkness, against the still faintly grey western sky, the spume could be seen rising like waterspouts. But it was the ear rather than the eye which made certain presage of disaster. No boat could face the challenge of that loud portal.

As Dickson struggled against the wind and stared, his heart melted and a great awe fell upon him. He may have wept; it is certain that he prayed. “Poor souls, poor souls!” he repeated. “I doubt the last hour or two has been a poor preparation for eternity.”

The tide next day brought the dead ashore. Among them was a young man, different in dress and appearance from the rest — a young man with a noble head and a finely-cut classic face, which was not marred like the others from pounding among the Garple rocks. His dark hair was washed back from his brow, and the mouth, which had been hard in life, was now relaxed in the strange innocence of death.

Dickson gazed at the body and observed that there was a slight deformation between the shoulders.

“Poor fellow,” he said. “That explains a lot…. As my father used to say, cripples have a right to be cankered.”

NEXT INSTALLMENT | ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

***

READ GORGEOUS PAPERBACKS: HiLoBooks has reissued the following 10 obscure but amazing Radium Age science fiction novels in beautiful print editions: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague, Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”), Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt, H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook, Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins, William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land, J.D. Beresford’s Goslings, E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man, Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage, and Muriel Jaeger’s The Man with Six Senses. For more information, visit the HiLoBooks homepage.

REDISCOVERED BY HILOBOOKS: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague | Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”) | Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt | H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook | Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins | William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land | J.D. Beresford’s Goslings | E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man | Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage | Muriel Jaeger’s The Man With Six Senses | Jack London’s “The Red One” | Philip Francis Nowlan’s Armageddon 2419 A.D. | Homer Eon Flint’s The Devolutionist | W.E.B. DuBois’s “The Comet” | Edgar Rice Burroughs’s The Moon Men | Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland | Sax Rohmer’s “The Zayat Kiss” | Eimar O’Duffy’s King Goshawk and the Birds | Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Lost Prince | John Buchan’s Huntingtower

ORIGINAL FICTION: HiLobrow has serialized three novels: James Parker’s The Ballad of Cocky The Fox (“a proof-of-concept that serialization can work on the Internet” — The Atlantic); Karinne Keithley Syers’s Linda Linda Linda (which includes original music); and Robert Waldron’s roman à clef The School on the Fens. We also publish original stories and comics. These include: Matthew Battles’s stories “Gita Nova“, “Makes the Man,” “Imago,” “Camera Lucida,” “A Simple Message”, “Children of the Volcano”, “The Gnomon”, “Billable Memories”, “For Provisional Description of Superficial Features”, “The Dogs in the Trees”, “The Sovereignties of Invention”, and “Survivor: The Island of Dr. Moreau”; several of these later appeared in the collection The Sovereignties of Invention | Peggy Nelson’s “Mood Indigo“, “Top Kill Fail“, and “Mercerism” | Annalee Newitz’s “The Great Oxygen Race” | Charlie Mitchell’s “A Fantasy Land” | Joshua Glenn’s “The Lawless One”, and the mashup story “Zarathustra vs. Swamp Thing” | Adam McGovern and Paolo Leandri’s Idoru Jones comics | John Holbo’s “Sugarplum Squeampunk” | “Another Corporate Death” (1) and “Another Corporate Death” (2) by Mike Fleisch | Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer and Frank Fiorentino’s graphic novel “The Song of Otto” (excerpt) | “Manoj” and “Josh” by Vijay Balakrishnan | “Verge” by Chris Rossi, and his audio novel Low Priority Hero | EPIC WINS: THE ILIAD (1.408-415) by Flourish Klink | EPIC WINS: THE KALEVALA (3.1-278) by James Parker | EPIC WINS: THE ARGONAUTICA (2.815-834) by Joshua Glenn | EPIC WINS: THE MYTH OF THE ELK by Matthew Battles | TROUBLED SUPERHUMAN CONTEST: Charles Pappas, “The Law” | CATASTROPHE CONTEST: Timothy Raymond, “Hem and the Flood” | TELEPATHY CONTEST: Rachel Ellis Adams, “Fatima, Can You Hear Me?” | OIL SPILL CONTEST: A.E. Smith, “Sound Thinking | LITTLE NEMO CAPTION CONTEST: Joe Lyons, “Necronomicon” | SPOOKY-KOOKY CONTEST: Tucker Cummings, “Well Marbled” | INVENT-A-HERO CONTEST: TG Gibbon, “The Firefly” | FANFICTION CONTEST: Lyette Mercier’s “Sex and the Single Superhero”

messytimetravel: The Sentinel



messytimetravel:

The Sentinel

Self-promotional

This Kirkus review of the style book gives a slightly inaccurate impression that I basically just go through saying whether things are good or bad!

See If You Can Spot Your Local News Anchor In Conan’s Latest…



See If You Can Spot Your Local News Anchor In Conan’s Latest Recycled Joke Supercut: Holiday Edition «, via Marko T.

Cocktail Recipe: White Star

What better way to commemorate the sinking of the Titanic (102 years ago today) than with a celebratory cocktail? Fear not, we at HiLobrow are here to serve. Both the Hi and Lo versions of the White Star are unsinkable, party-wise.

champagne

Ingredients:

Sugar cube
Edible gold leaf flakes
2-3 dashes bitters
1/2 oz. cognac
Several ozs. fine champagne

Instructions (first class ticket):

Dust glass with edible gold flakes. Place sugar cube in glass. Drop bitters on cube, and add the cognac. Finally, fill the glass with your finest vintage champagne. Toast to YOLO while the band plays on.

Best served over a single jagged block of ice.

Instructions (third class ticket):

Champagne taste on a steerage budget? Substitute malt liquor in a red solo cup. Bottoms up!

***

Other HiLobrow cocktail recipes.

More posts by Peggy Nelson.

stunningpicture: This is the first picture I was given of my…



stunningpicture:

This is the first picture I was given of my unborn son

looks a little like a distressed daguerreotype



looks a little like a distressed daguerreotype

Discards

How not to make a graphic novel.

Discards

How not to make a graphic novel.

“Horror’s my default setting”

Carolyn Kellogg interviews Stephen Graham Jones for the LA Times.

IIB

Funny gene names. (Via BoingBoing.)

April 14, 2014



April 14, 2014

I haven’t mentioned this to anyone, but it seems I’m a sleepwalker.   For the past two years, and this happens maybe twice a year, so we’re talking about at least four times, I found myself getting out of bed sometime in the dead of night, and walking down my hill to Astro diner on Fletcher where it meets Glendale boulevard.   I have no memory of this, but I did talk to people who had witnessed me in this state.



It seems I do the same thing all the time.  I either go into the counter and sit, with a daze look over my eyes, or even worst, I tend to sit down at a booth when it is either full of people, or just two people in the area.  I have been made aware that I always go to the same seat.  One time at the counter, I was trying to sit on a seat that is already occupied by a customer.  It seemed that I was trying to sit on his lap.  Or if it is in a booth, I basically sat down and pushed the other person aside.  Either way one looks at this, I tend to go into a booth that is full of police officers from the K9 unit. Not once have they woke me up, and they just usually contact the management there.  The odd thing is I never woke up.   The waitress who works at Astro, knows me slightly and she also knows where I live.   The only saving grace is that my wife notices when I’m gone, and comes after me to take me home.  She then directs me back to bed, and then I sleep normally.  By morning, when I woke up, I have no memory of the previous night walk.



Freud once commented that sleepwalking is fulfilling sexual wishes or at the very least, a desire to go to sleep in the same area as the individual slept in childhood.  As far as I know, I never slept at Astro’s diner as a child, and my first visit there was as a teenager.  But alas, that’s not true!  My mom told me yesterday that we as a family used to go to Astro’s a lot, and mostly in the late evening.   As a child, I would always fall asleep there after eating an apple pie and then laid my head on my mom’s lap.  My mom indicated to me that it was a real pain to wake me up from my nap at Astro’s, that they finally decided that maybe it isn’t a great idea to take me there in the late evening.  Nevertheless, I have no memory of any of this.  What my memory tells me is that I went there as a teenager, and I had for sure had a strong crush on one of the waitresses there.  She was much older than me, and there wasn’t a chance in hell, that I could get anywhere near her, except to order another cup of coffee.   But going there as a teen for the purpose of seeing her, did cause me a sense of dread, anxiety, and excitement all in one package.


Of course she doesn’t work there anymore, and I (in my waking hours) go there maybe once a month for a Sunday breakfast, but still, that sense of disappointment has stayed with me for many years.  In fact, it is so disturbing to me that I try not to think about it.

Photo



Collectible plush toys sold separately. myjetpack: My book of…



Collectible plush toys sold separately.

myjetpack:

My book of cartoons ‘You’re All Just Jealous of my Jetpack’ is available now:
US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1770461043
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1770461043
Other stockists and info at www.tomgauld.com

grapnel: Christina Raines in The Sentinel – 1977.



grapnel:

Christina Raines in The Sentinel - 1977.

marswiggles: Right Mastcam, Sol 540 “Stereoscopic wiggle GIFs…



marswiggles:

Right Mastcam, Sol 540

"Stereoscopic wiggle GIFs of Mars from Curiosity Rover, animated from MSL raw imagery by brownpau"

File X (24)

Here’s another vintage paperback whose title includes a free-standing “X.”

Click here to view my entire collection; and click here to peruse the Collector’s Guide.

planet x

Planet X (1951), by Gill Hunt.

According to L.W. Currey: “The Galactic Spacial Police Patrol pursues a space pirate to a distant planet where unpleasant, hostile alien life forms are encountered. Space opera in the worst boys’ fiction tradition.”

*

MORE LIT LISTS FROM THIS AUTHOR: Index to All Adventure Lists | Best 19th Century Adventure (1805–1903) | Best Nineteen-Oughts Adventure (1904–13) | Best Nineteen-Teens Adventure (1914–23) | Best Twenties Adventure (1924–33) | Best Thirties Adventure (1934–43) | Best Forties Adventure (1944–53) | Best Fifties Adventure (1954–63) | Best Sixties Adventure (1964–73) | Best Seventies Adventure (1974–83) | 101 Science Fiction | 70 Crime | 65 Fantasy | 60 Espionage | 40 Atavistic & Historical | 25 Frontier & Western | 20 Avenger & Artful Dodger | 20 Apophenic & Treasure Hunt | 20 War & Ruritanian | 18 Picaresque | 11 Robinsonade & Survival. ALSO: Best YA Fiction of 1963 | Best Older Kids’ Lit 1964 | 10 Best 1964 Adventures | Best Scottish Fabulists | Radium-Age Telepath Lit | Radium Age Superman Lit | Radium Age Robot Lit | Radium Age Apocalypse Lit | Radium Age Eco-Catastrophe Lit | Radium Age Cover Art (1) | SF’s Best Year Ever: 1912 | Cold War “X” Fic | Best YA Sci-Fi | Hooker Lit | No-Fault Eco-Catastrophe Lit | Scrabble Lit |

The Lost Prince (15)

lost-prince

Frances Hodgson Burnett is best known for her sentimental children’s novels Little Lord Fauntleroy (1885-6), A Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden (1911). But HiLoBooks prefers a later Burnett novel: The Lost Prince, a 1915 Ruritanian-style thriller in which two adolescent boys, one of whom is a disabled street urchin called “The Rat,” play a proto-Alternate Reality Game about a revolution in far-off Samavia… which turns into the real thing.

HiLobrow is pleased to serialize The Lost Prince, our first departure from Radium Age science fiction — into adventure fiction. A new installment will appear each week for thirty-one weeks.

ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

***

Chapter 15: A Sound in a Dream

Marco slept peacefully for several hours. There was nothing to awaken him during that time. But at the end of it, his sleep was penetrated by a definite sound. He had dreamed of hearing a voice at a distance, and, as he tried in his dream to hear what it said, a brief metallic ringing sound awakened him outright. It was over by the time he was fully conscious, and at once he realized that the voice of his dream had been a real one, and was speaking still. It was the Lovely Person’s voice, and she was speaking rapidly, as if she were in the greatest haste. She was speaking through the door.

“You will have to search for it,” was all he heard. “I have not a moment!” And, as he listened to her hurriedly departing feet, there came to him with their hastening echoes the words, “You are too good for the cellar. I like you!”

He sprang to the door and tried it, but it was still locked. The feet ran up the cellar steps and through the upper hall, and the front door closed with a bang. The two people had gone away, as they had threatened. The voice had been excited as well as hurried. Something had happened to frighten them, and they had left the house in great haste.

Marco turned and stood with his back against the door. The cat had awakened and she was gazing at him with her green eyes. She began to purr encouragingly. She really helped Marco to think. He was thinking with all his might and trying to remember.

“What did she come for? She came for something,” he said to himself. “What did she say? I only heard part of it, because I was asleep. The voice in the dream was part of it. The part I heard was, ‘You will have to search for it. I have not a moment.’ And as she ran down the passage, she called back, ‘You are too good for the cellar. I like you.’” He said the words over and over again and tried to recall exactly how they had sounded, and also to recall the voice which had seemed to be part of a dream but had been a real thing. Then he began to try his favorite experiment. As he often tried the experiment of commanding his mind to go to sleep, so he frequently experimented on commanding it to work for him — to help him to remember, to understand, and to argue about things clearly.

“Reason this out for me,” he said to it now, quite naturally and calmly. “Show me what it means.”

What did she come for? It was certain that she was in too great a hurry to be able, without a reason, to spare the time to come. What was the reason? She had said she liked him. Then she came because she liked him. If she liked him, she came to do something which was not unfriendly. The only good thing she could do for him was something which would help him to get out of the cellar. She had said twice that he was too good for the cellar. If he had been awake, he would have heard all she said and have understood what she wanted him to do or meant to do for him. He must not stop even to think of that. The first words he had heard — what had they been? They had been less clear to him than her last because he had heard them only as he was awakening. But he thought he was sure that they had been, “You will have to search for it.” Search for it. For what? He thought and thought. What must he search for?

He sat down on the floor of the cellar and held his head in his hands, pressing his eyes so hard that curious lights floated before them.

“Tell me! Tell me!” he said to that part of his being which the Buddhist anchorite had said held all knowledge and could tell a man everything if he called upon it in the right spirit.

And in a few minutes, he recalled something which seemed so much a part of his sleep that he had not been sure that he had not dreamed it. The ringing sound! He sprang up on his feet with a little gasping shout. The ringing sound! It had been the ring of metal, striking as it fell. Anything made of metal might have sounded like that. She had thrown something made of metal into the cellar. She had thrown it through the slit in the bricks near the door. She liked him, and said he was too good for his prison. She had thrown to him the only thing which could set him free. She had thrown him the key of the cellar!

For a few minutes the feelings which surged through him were so full of strong excitement that they set his brain in a whirl. He knew what his father would say — that would not do. If he was to think, he must hold himself still and not let even joy overcome him. The key was in the black little cellar, and he must find it in the dark. Even the woman who liked him enough to give him a chance of freedom knew that she must not open the door and let him out. There must be a delay. He would have to find the key himself, and it would be sure to take time. The chances were that they would be at a safe enough distance before he could get out.

“I will kneel down and crawl on my hands and knees,” he said.

“I will crawl back and forth and go over every inch of the floor with my hands until I find it. If I go over every inch, I shall find it.”

So he kneeled down and began to crawl, and the cat watched him and purred.

“We shall get out, Puss-cat,” he said to her. “I told you we should.”

He crawled from the door to the wall at the side of the shelves, and then he crawled back again. The key might be quite a small one, and it was necessary that he should pass his hands over every inch, as he had said. The difficulty was to be sure, in the darkness, that he did not miss an inch. Sometimes he was not sure enough, and then he went over the ground again. He crawled backward and forward, and he crawled forward and backward. He crawled crosswise and lengthwise, he crawled diagonally, and he crawled round and round. But he did not find the key. If he had had only a little light, but he had none. He was so absorbed in his search that he did not know he had been engaged in it for several hours, and that it was the middle of the night. But at last he realized that he must stop for a rest, because his knees were beginning to feel bruised, and the skin of his hands was sore as a result of the rubbing on the flags. The cat and her kittens had gone to sleep and awakened again two or three times.

“But it is somewhere!” he said obstinately. “It is inside the cellar. I heard something fall which was made of metal. That was the ringing sound which awakened me.”

When he stood up, he found his body ached and he was very tired. He stretched himself and exercised his arms and legs.

“I wonder how long I have been crawling about,” he thought. “But the key is in the cellar. It is in the cellar.”

He sat down near the cat and her family, and, laying his arm on the shelf above her, rested his head on it. He began to think of another experiment.

“I am so tired, I believe I shall go to sleep again. ‘Thought which Knows All’” — he was quoting something the hermit had said to Loristan in their midnight talk — “Thought which Knows All! Show me this little thing. Lead me to it when I awake.”

And he did fall asleep, sound and fast.

He did not know that he slept all the rest of the night. But he did. When he awakened, it was daylight in the streets, and the milk-carts were beginning to jingle about, and the early postmen were knocking big double-knocks at front doors. The cat may have heard the milk-carts, but the actual fact was that she herself was hungry and wanted to go in search of food. Just as Marco lifted his head from his arm and sat up, she jumped down from her shelf and went to the door. She had expected to find it ajar as it had been before. When she found it shut, she scratched at it and was disturbed to find this of no use. Because she knew Marco was in the cellar, she felt she had a friend who would assist her, and she miauled appealingly.

This reminded Marco of the key.

“I will when I have found it,” he said. “It is inside the cellar.”

The cat miauled again, this time very anxiously indeed. The kittens heard her and began to squirm and squeak piteously.

“Lead me to this little thing,” said Marco, as if speaking to Something in the darkness about him, and he got up.

He put his hand out toward the kittens, and it touched something lying not far from them. It must have been lying near his elbow all night while he slept.

It was the key! It had fallen upon the shelf, and not on the floor at all.

Marco picked it up and then stood still a moment. He made the sign of the cross.

Then he found his way to the door and fumbled until he found the keyhole and got the key into it. Then he turned it and pushed the door open — and the cat ran out into the passage before him.

NEXT INSTALLMENT | ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

***

READ GORGEOUS PAPERBACKS: HiLoBooks has reissued the following 10 obscure but amazing Radium Age science fiction novels in beautiful print editions: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague, Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”), Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt, H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook, Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins, William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land, J.D. Beresford’s Goslings, E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man, Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage, and Muriel Jaeger’s The Man with Six Senses. For more information, visit the HiLoBooks homepage.

REDISCOVERED BY HILOBOOKS: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague | Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”) | Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt | H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook | Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins | William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land | J.D. Beresford’s Goslings | E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man | Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage | Muriel Jaeger’s The Man With Six Senses | Jack London’s “The Red One” | Philip Francis Nowlan’s Armageddon 2419 A.D. | Homer Eon Flint’s The Devolutionist | W.E.B. DuBois’s “The Comet” | Edgar Rice Burroughs’s The Moon Men | Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland | Sax Rohmer’s “The Zayat Kiss” | Eimar O’Duffy’s King Goshawk and the Birds | Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Lost Prince | John Buchan’s Huntingtower

ORIGINAL FICTION: HiLobrow has serialized three novels: James Parker’s The Ballad of Cocky The Fox (“a proof-of-concept that serialization can work on the Internet” — The Atlantic); Karinne Keithley Syers’s Linda Linda Linda (which includes original music); and Robert Waldron’s roman à clef The School on the Fens. We also publish original stories and comics. These include: Matthew Battles’s stories “Gita Nova“, “Makes the Man,” “Imago,” “Camera Lucida,” “A Simple Message”, “Children of the Volcano”, “The Gnomon”, “Billable Memories”, “For Provisional Description of Superficial Features”, “The Dogs in the Trees”, “The Sovereignties of Invention”, and “Survivor: The Island of Dr. Moreau”; several of these later appeared in the collection The Sovereignties of Invention | Peggy Nelson’s “Mood Indigo“, “Top Kill Fail“, and “Mercerism” | Annalee Newitz’s “The Great Oxygen Race” | Charlie Mitchell’s “A Fantasy Land” | Joshua Glenn’s “The Lawless One”, and the mashup story “Zarathustra vs. Swamp Thing” | Adam McGovern and Paolo Leandri’s Idoru Jones comics | John Holbo’s “Sugarplum Squeampunk” | “Another Corporate Death” (1) and “Another Corporate Death” (2) by Mike Fleisch | Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer and Frank Fiorentino’s graphic novel “The Song of Otto” (excerpt) | “Manoj” and “Josh” by Vijay Balakrishnan | “Verge” by Chris Rossi, and his audio novel Low Priority Hero | EPIC WINS: THE ILIAD (1.408-415) by Flourish Klink | EPIC WINS: THE KALEVALA (3.1-278) by James Parker | EPIC WINS: THE ARGONAUTICA (2.815-834) by Joshua Glenn | EPIC WINS: THE MYTH OF THE ELK by Matthew Battles | TROUBLED SUPERHUMAN CONTEST: Charles Pappas, “The Law” | CATASTROPHE CONTEST: Timothy Raymond, “Hem and the Flood” | TELEPATHY CONTEST: Rachel Ellis Adams, “Fatima, Can You Hear Me?” | OIL SPILL CONTEST: A.E. Smith, “Sound Thinking | LITTLE NEMO CAPTION CONTEST: Joe Lyons, “Necronomicon” | SPOOKY-KOOKY CONTEST: Tucker Cummings, “Well Marbled” | INVENT-A-HERO CONTEST: TG Gibbon, “The Firefly” | FANFICTION CONTEST: Lyette Mercier’s “Sex and the Single Superhero”

Can Twitter Predict Major Events Such as Mass Protests? | MIT…



Can Twitter Predict Major Events Such as Mass Protests? | MIT Technology Review

Today, Nathan Kallus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge says he has developed a way to predict crowd behaviour using statements made on Twitter. In particular, he has analysed the tweets associated with the 2013 coup d’état in Egypt and says that the civil unrest associated with this event was clearly predictable days in advance. […] First, Kallus defines a significant protest as one that receives much more mainstream media coverage than usual. He then analyses the mainstream coverage to see when significant protests actually occur and looks for activity in the Twitter feed that precedes the protests. If these are the predictive indicators, then it is possible to look for similar types of activity and assume that this is predictive too. Kallus tests this idea by studying the tweets associated with the 2013 coup d’état in Egypt, which was centered around the anniversary of President Morsi’s rule, triggering significant protests during which he was removed from power by the Egyptian army. Kallus says that evidence of the protests was clearly visible in the Twitter feed well in advance, as were the advanced protests that occurred before the anniversary. What’s more, the social media content predicted that the protests would go on for weeks beyond the anniversary. Kallus’s conclusion that tweets can accurately predict significant protests in advance is an interesting one. There’s no question that the evidence is there to be found in the social media in retrospect. There is no shortage of people who make these kinds of predictions about historical events using historical data. The bigger question is whether it’s possible to pick out this evidence in advance. In other words, is possible to make predictions before the events actually occur?

Garry Kasparov

Garry-Kasparov-by-cool-sports-players-3

The most charismatic chess player since Bobby Fischer, GARRY KASPAROV (Garik Weinstein, born 1963) was the top player in the world for all but three months of a nearly 20-year period beginning in the mid-1980s. Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, to a Russian Jewish father and an Armenian mother, Kasparov was a member of the CPSU as a young man, but soon became a believer in an inclusive, cosmopolitan Russia and an ardent proponent of a free, democratic system — ideals which have not endeared Kasparov to Vladimir Putin or his oligarch supporters. Best known for his battles with specialized chess computers Deep Thought, Deep Blue, and Deep Junior (he famously lost to Deep Blue in 1997, a blow to the human race), Kasparov continues to believe in the superior power of human intuition and evaluative judgment. Like ancestral fellow traveler Alexander Herzen, Kasparov helped found an organization for the distribution of materials critical of the Russian regime and its strictures. Also like Herzen, he has made himself into a journalist/essayist, issuing regular indictments in varied fora of Putin’s actions and of western leaders’ inaction. In each of his fields of engagement, Kasparov stands for humanity.

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MORE ACTIVISTS: Mother Jones | Alexander Berkman | Eugene V. Debs | Big Bill Haywood | Lucy Stone | Antônio Conselheiro | Emmeline Pankhurst | Félix Fénéon | Zo d’Axa | Voltairine de Cleyre | Emma Goldman | Will Allen | Rosa Luxemburg | Émile Henry | Pancho Villa | Joe Hill | Margaret Sanger | Aldo Leopold | Screaming Lord Sutch | Nestor Makhno | Dorothy Day | Garry Kasparov | Adriano Olivetti | Mildred Harnack | George Orwell | Bayard Rustin | Abbie Hoffman | Ti-Grace Atkinson | Gloria Steinem | Rudolf Rocker | Stokely Carmichael | Angela Davis

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Samuel Beckett, Jacques Lacan, Roy Loney, Michael Herr.

READ MORE about men and women born on the cusp between the Original Generation X (1954–63) and the Reconstructionists (1964–73).

April 13, 2014



April 13, 2014

Being an only child and surrounded by childhood friends who either had a brother or sister, left me with fantasies of being part of other families.   Oddly enough, I never fantasize about the families that I knew, but more with the families I have seen on TV at the time.  I was drawn into “Leave It To Beaver” at an early age, and the show which ran from 1957 to 1963, was about a middle-class white family somewhere in the United States (not Southern California, that’s for sure) where the parents had two sons.  The youngest son was Beaver, who had a child-like curiosity about the world, and therefore I identified with him, because of his struggle to comprehend his world and the emotional landscape that his parents live in.  The other son is Wally, who is someone I would want as a big brother.



I have been caught many times by my parents when I talked to my imaginary brother Wally.  At first they thought it was either charming or cute, but my discussions with the empty space near me, got stranger and stranger to them.  I, on the other hand, was quite comfortable with my relationship with Wally.   As I grew older, many things changed in my life, but never my bond with Wally.  I often ask him for advice, and for years I had a scrapbook that just focusses on the images of Wally, who was played by Tony Dow.  At first I pretended that it was a family photo scrapbook. The illusion became reality as I got older.



When I was in my early 20’s, and by chance, I met the famous French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, who was a friend of Andre Breton and the Surrealists.  In his later years, he was collecting photograph prints, and he contacted me because he had heard that I had a large collection of images by Pierre Molinier, who was known for his erotic self-portraits of himself either dressed as a woman or posing with prosthetic limbs, stiletto heels, dildos and an occasional confidante.  On one of my trips to Paris, I asked if I could bring up a delicate matter to his attention.  He listened to me as I talked about my obsession with my invisible older brother Wally.  At one session, we watched together at least five episodes of “Leave It To Beaver.” He was fascinated that I actually based my imaginary brother on a popular TV show.   Not only that, but a show that focuses on what looks like a “normal” American family.   He knew I had an interest in writing and he asked me who I like as a writer.  I told him that my two favorite writers are Georges Bataille and Samuel Beckett.  I didn’t know at the time that he married Bataille’s wife, and was actually a good friend of the writer as well.  He was proposed that maybe I should write a narrative with me and “Wally” as the main characters, but base it on a prose style by Beckett.



For the past thirty years, I have worked on one long piece, which I guess is a novel, about me and Wally going on a trip to France to locate images by Pierre Molinier.    The dialogue between us, is very much based on Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot,” as we wait in a train station for Molinier to pick us up for some unknown destination.  This is where the problem lies, because I don’t have the foggiest idea where that destination will lead us, but I feel that my brother need to hold my hand and direct me to the light, from the darkness of my mind.


Photo



“The AVATAR kiosk is an automated interviewing platform with an…







"The AVATAR kiosk is an automated interviewing platform with an embedded artificial agent that is designed to flag suspicious behavior at a port-of-entry that should be investigated more closely by a trained officer. This primary screening technology is designed for use at ports-of-entry, including border crossings and airports. The kiosk also has many other security application such as visa processing and personnel screening."

Software, Demos, and Prototypes | National Center for Border Security and Immigration

"Border police in Romania are testing a technology developed at the University of Arizona that uses a virtual border agent to question international travelers and flag those that give off suspicious vibes."

What’s Up UA? - UA-Developed Avatar is Helping to Screen New Arrivals at Bucharest Airport - The Explorer: University Of Arizona

Video: Superpoliţistul „Avatar” a intrat în serviciu pe aeroportul Otopeni

To date, the AVATAR has been tested at the US-Mexico border and in several  simulation  exercises,  some  of  which  were  carried  out  in  cooperation  with Frontex.  This is the first field test that has been carried out in a European operational environment.”

BORDERS’ AVATAR ON DUTY IN BUCHAREST AIRPORT | National Center for Border Security and Immigration

Art Of The Bush School | greg.org: the making of, by greg…



Art Of The Bush School | greg.org: the making of, by greg allen

This is as good a time as any to point out that Bush painted his portraits, not just from photographs—a common enough practice as well as a long-established conceptual strategy, though I think only the former pertains here—but from the top search result on Google Images. Many photos were taken from the subject’s Wikipedia entry. Bush based his paintings on the literally first-to-surface, easiest-to-find photos of his subjects. Is this meaningful in any way? If he had one, it would mean Bush’s studio assistant is very, very lazy. But in all his discussion of it, Bush’s painting practice appears to be a solitary one. He apparently did not tap the enormous archive of photos, taken by the professionals who followed him every day for eight years, which are contained in his giant library. Instead, it seems, he Googled the world leaders he made such impactful relationships with himself, and took the first straight-on headshot he saw. […] The point is, once again, art matters. Art has surfaced in the most dire circumstances, at a crucial moment in our society’s history, produced by someone whose actions and moral standing confound our engagement with it. And culturally speaking, we don’t care; we’d rather see Bush’s folksy pictures from the internet. Every news story about Bush’s paintings represents ten reports not filed about Bush’s torture. In the art world, meanwhile, we’d rather not see it at all. Better to condemn and dismiss it quickly. Snark and move on. Stoke the indignance that keeps us and our practices unsullied. Ward off any engagement with cowering incantations of connoisseurship and facture. This is how art appears in our society today. Art works, as they say, and this is what it does: it absolves and redeems and defuses and deflects. Ultimately, George Bush’s paintings are important less for what they show, than for what they obscure. And the art world’s critical structures seem unable or unwilling to meet the challenge posed by the art of the torture & terrorism school.

Michael Herr

dispatches

A decade after he went to Vietnam as a war correspondent for Esquire in 1967, MICHAEL HERR (born 1940) published a book called Dispatches. His reporter’s journey to the end of the night is one of the great wartime chronicles and works of contemporary nonfiction. Suffused with exhaustion and dread, Herr’s prose is electric and disquieting, bristling with scintillating observation and insight. Herr discerned the elemental music within “in-country” lingo and rock songs. He divined messages from helmet and flak jacket inscriptions. His image of a helmet with “‘Born to Kill’ placed in all innocence next to the peace symbol” found its way into Full Metal Jacket, a film he co-wrote. (For more about his time with the film’s enigmatic director, consult Herr’s Kubrick.) If Dispatches sounds in places like Martin Sheen’s Captain Willard venturing downriver in Apocalypse Now, that’s because Herr also contributed to that film’s voiceover. In Herr’s book, Khe Sanh becomes like a jar in a Wallace Stevens poem, a Mothers of Invention song communicates more about newsgathering than any debrief. At times he writes like a combat ethnographer, as when he analyzes uniform fetishes and declares the grunts “wiggier than cargo cultists.” Elsewhere, Herr comes on like a countercultural Thucydides, weighing how the story of the war is told.

Conventional journalism could no more reveal this war than conventional firepower could win it, all it could do was take the most profound event of the American decade and turn it into a communications pudding, taking its most obvious, undeniable history and making it a secret history.

Dispatches is an incomparable testament to the psychic toll of bearing witness to war. Just as the specter of Vietnam haunted Herr’s dreams long after he was “back in the World,” Dispatches continues to haunt ours.

***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Roy Loney, Jacques Lacan, Samuel Beckett, Garry Kasparov.

READ MORE about members of the Anti-Anti-Utopian Generation (1934-43).

Jordan and the Dream of Rogen

The other night I dreamed I was going into a coffeeshop and Seth Rogen was sitting at an outside table eating a salad.  He was wearing a jeans jacket and his skin was sort of bad.  I have always admired Rogen’s work so I screwed up my courage, went up to his table and said

“Are you…”

And he said, “Yes, I am… having the chef’s salad.  You should try it, it’s great.”

And I sort of stood there and goggled and then he was like, “Yeah, no, yes, I’m Seth Rogen.”

I feel proud of my unconscious mind for producing what I actually consider a reasonably Seth Rogen-style gag!


Jordan and the Dream of Rogen

The other night I dreamed I was going into a coffeeshop and Seth Rogen was sitting at an outside table eating a salad.  He was wearing a jeans jacket and his skin was sort of bad.  I have always admired Rogen’s work so I screwed up my courage, went up to his table and said

“Are you…”

And he said, “Yes, I am… having the chef’s salad.  You should try it, it’s great.”

And I sort of stood there and goggled and then he was like, “Yeah, no, yes, I’m Seth Rogen.”

I feel proud of my unconscious mind for producing what I actually consider a reasonably Seth Rogen-style gag!


kiameku: Kris Martin Idiot Library 2013 180.5 x 180.5 x…



kiameku:

Kris Martin
Idiot Library
2013
180.5 x 180.5 x 52.5 cm
library and 250 editions of “The Idiot” by Dostoyevsky

April 12, 2014



April 12, 2014

I often just think about my life as “Little Toot, ” the tugboat child who all the other tug boats feel is useless because he (I presume it’s a he for some reason) prefers to play and make figure 8s in the bay.  Eventually the tugboat community forces Little Toot to leave and finds himself adrift in the vast sea.  I imagine myself in that role quite easily.  At one time I was working at a bookstore, having a great time there, and eventually let go, due that I love being around books, and I just wanted to play, which actually, in my point of view, was my actual work there.  Nevertheless, some disagree with my philosophy, and I was sent out adrift in the world of my own imagination.



As a teenager, I briefly met the entertainer and singer Tiny Tim at a party at Billy Gray’s house in Topanga Canyon.  I was taken aback to meet him, because I wasn’t sure if he actually exists or not.   At the time he was a star for being on “Laugh-In, ” but also was taken as a joke, due to his appearance and his rather eccentric mode of focusing on songs from the 1920s and beyond.  Also the fact that he played the ukulele and sang with a falsetto/vibrato voice.  He wore white make-up, red lipstick, and had long hair.  Tiny Tim sort of look like he was borderline homeless or even insane.   So many thought he was likely to be a comedian and he was taking the Tiny Tim character as a fictional role.   To be honest, I was confused at the time.  When I met and observe him at this gathering, I can see he was genuine and not at all, a character that was set up for the masses.  At the time, I purchased his first album “God Bless Tiny Tim, ” and recalled that I really liked it, and for sure it wasn’t a joke thing at all.  Very recently I learned that he was also in Jack Smith’s “Normal Love.” Like Little Toot, Tiny Tim wasn’t really accepted by his audience, because he was thought as a freak or a humorous figure.  In fact, he was a genuine musical archivist and more likely one of the great minds in 20th music.  Yet, I feel he was abandoned by the entertainment world, once they thought the joke was old.



It’s very hard to stay true to one’s self, when the world either ignores or ridicules you in a fashion that yells out ‘you’re not important.’  Yet, on a daily basis, the struggle to work or play is almost like sending a spit against the wind, it hits you in the face again and again.  We are often placed in a world that is none of our making, and yet, everyone demands that we operate in that landscape, and do what we are told.  I remember reading about the teen idol David Cassidy and his frustration to be taken seriously, yet, his image, even his peculiar fame, worked against him.   The crisis is trying to define oneself against what the others say you are.   With that in mind, whenever I put pen onto paper, it is a weapon against those who wouldn’t allow me to flourish in my own fashion.  Nevertheless, if you keep your vision intact, there is nothing that they can do in order to destroy you.  And yes, you drift in that vast ocean, but also there are endless possibilities where one can even visualize an Atlantis in front of them.

Claire Danes

danes

CLAIRE DANES (born 1979) is that rare example of a child actor who started strong and remained strong. Offered work on a soap opera at age 12, she demurred to avoid mucking up her developing skills. This doggedness about focused self-improvement and pursuit of her own interests appears deep-seated and ongoing. Although she has recently been showered in gold for her starring role in Homeland, some of her finest work was as a young teenager playing high-school sophomore Angela Chase in My So-Called Life. Angela embodies the exposed nerve that is adolescence, and Danes manifests that saturation of feeling through her body. Much of the show is spent in voiceover, with Danes expressing Angela’s frustrations, unhappiness, longing, and joy through her face and her movements; it is a brilliant conceit, because much of the teenage experience is spent living inside one’s head. After one season, ABC announced it was canceling the show, seeing no economic benefit in a show that attracted an audience primarily consisting of teen girls (!). In any case, Danes intended to leave the show and writer Winnie Holzman couldn’t imagine writing the show without her in it. At age 16, Danes starred as Juliet in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet opposite Leonardo DiCaprio. A stark departure from that remarkable porcelain doll, Olivia Hussey, Danes’ Juliet is the ordinary girl, more or less, made extraordinary by meeting Romeo. Her face transforms when she is with Romeo; fans will remember a version of this countenance in Angela’s joy when the object of her infatuation first calls her name as she’s being pushed into a police car. (As remarkable as is Danes’ happy face is her sad face.) There are those actors whom the viewer envies or lusts after, but Danes is not such an actor: She watches the world and reacts, viscerally, and she is us.

***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Shannen Doherty, Henry Darger, Herbie Hancock, David Cassidy, Tiny Tim, Georges Franju.

READ MORE about members of the Revivalist Generation (1974-82).

completelyunproductive: Poster for The Sentinel. (1977) Loved…



completelyunproductive:

Poster for The Sentinel. (1977)

Loved this movie. Whatever happened to Christina Raines?

“Unlike a rusting highway bridge, digital infrastructure does not betray the effects of age. And,…”

“Unlike a rusting highway bridge, digital infrastructure does not betray the effects of age. And, unlike roads and bridges, large portions of the software infrastructure of the Internet are built and maintained by volunteers, who get little reward when their code works well but are blamed, and sometimes savagely derided, when it fails. To some degree, this is beginning to change: venture-capital firms have made substantial investments in code-infrastructure projects, like GitHub and the Node Package Manager. But money and support still tend to flow to the newest and sexiest projects, while boring but essential elements like OpenSSL limp along as volunteer efforts. It’s easy to take open-source software for granted, and to forget that the Internet we use every day depends in part on the freely donated work of thousands of programmers. If open-source software is at the heart of the Internet, then we might need to examine it from time to time to make sure it’s not bleeding.”

- The Internet’s Telltale Heartbleed : The New Yorker

Georges Franju

georges-franju

GEORGES FRANJU (1912–87) scandalized French film critics with Eyes Without a Face (Les yeux sans visage, 1960). The French simply did not do horror movies, and certainly the founder of The Cinémathèque Française would not debase himself with such a low and sensationalist genre. It must be a kind of film noir, they argued. But Franju’s work was squarely in a tradition of the fantastic and the grotesque dating to Victor Hugo’s “The Man Who Laughs” and Théophile Gautier’s ghost stories, and drawing directly on Méliès’ fantasies and Feuillade’s pulp serials. Franju brought exactly the same style to Eyes as he did to his lauded documentary about Parisian slaughterhouses, Blood of the Beasts. His camera did not flinch as horses dropped in slaughter; he lingered over the excision of a human face. Let the audience look away if they wanted, but he would not provide them with any relief. That same dreaminess, that lyricism in horror that defines Eyes Without a Face also plays over his 1963 remake of Feuillade’s Judex. With the pulpiest material imaginable — archvillains, supersleuths, masquerade — Franju drifts over the narrative, plucking iconic images out of the unreeling unlikelihood: bird-headed magicians, domino-masked thieves, nuns in catsuits, randomly arriving aerialists. It doesn’t work as a thriller, and it barely makes sense — but once seen, you’ll never forget it. It lingers like a dream made real.

Judex 51

ALSO READ: David Smay’s series of posts on Early ’60s Horror.

***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Shannen Doherty, Henry Darger, Herbie Hancock, David Cassidy, Tiny Tim, Claire Danes.

READ MORE about members of the Partisan Generation (1904-13).

pizzzatime: zerostatereflex: Banana MRI - Source unknown



pizzzatime:

zerostatereflex: Banana MRI - Source unknown

“Walking West is a walking art perfomance by Conor McGarrigle. April 11 2014, Colfax Avenue…”

Walking West is a walking art perfomance by Conor McGarrigle. April 11 2014, Colfax Avenue Denver.

Walking West seeks to inscribe the virtual on the physical as it combines the physical act of walking with the ephemeral digital traces of its GPS track and the invisible actions of a satellite 400-miles above capturing the scene.

The path will be marked with a physical line as a GPS device simultaneously traces a virtual digital line along the route, the route will be captured from space by a commissioned satellite photograph.



- Walking West -Colfax Ave

Tiny Tim

tiny-tim

Was Herbert Khaury a pioneering media politician, or merely a performer whose genre had yet to be invented? The question bears asking inasmuch as Khaury’s creation, TINY TIM (1932–96), remains a mystery of the late twentieth century. His debut LP, God Bless Tiny Tim (1968), a clamorous carnival of the psychedelic and the square, as piping hot with unaddressed contradiction and domesticated freakiness as a 1968 television tube, sits easily next to the contemporaneous phantasmagorias of Donovan, The Fifth Dimension, and The Bonzo Dog Band. And in the realm of social semiotics, no performer who confounded an outrageously gay presentation by marrying an ultrafeminine woman on The Tonight Show — trilling all the while about the Christian chastity of a spectacle that was worthy of 1923 Berlin — can be dismissed as a mere put-on artist, let alone a fraud. For Khaury gave himself to Tiny, and Tiny gave himself to us, dying from a heart attack suffered on the stage of a Minneapolis women’s club. Unto death, the mask never slipped; the joke was never surrendered. Who can say for sure, even now, that it was a mask at all? Or — since the punchline never came — that it was even a joke?

johnny-carson

***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Shannen Doherty, Henry Darger, Herbie Hancock, David Cassidy, Georges Franju, Claire Danes.

READ MORE about members of the Postmodernist Generation (1924-33).

Until a few years ago, the internet was the main (and often…



Until a few years ago, the internet was the main (and often only) way to see Laric’s works, and those of sanctioned fellow artists. Before I ever heard of him, I would often look at VVORK.com, the influential blog he ran from 2006 to 2012 with Aleksandra Domanović, Christoph Priglinger and Georg Schnitzer. The set-up was simple: an art work or two posted daily, either by one of the four founders or (usually) by another artist. VVORK would ‘curate’ not only images of contemporary works but also historical ones, predating that now-orthodox usage of Tumblr, and still contrasting with exhibition-based blogs like Contemporary Art Daily. On a random day in 2009, these posts might include a 2001 tray installation by Brian Jungen, a 2009 work by Markus Schinwald, a 1967 piece by Les Levine, and the ‘Silhouettes’ series (Untitled) by Seth Price, whose 2002/2008 essay ‘Dispersion’ continues to be one of Laric’s conceptual cornerstones. Laric believes – like Price, and as Marcel Broodthaers is quoted as saying at the beginning of the ‘Dispersion’ essay – that ‘artistic activity occurs, first of all, in the field of distribution’. (via Frieze Magazine | Archive | Iconoclash)

April 11, 2014



April 11, 2014

Like Marcel Proust commenting on the cookie that brought up memories, the Sony transistor radio serves the same role in my life.  It was probably the first real serious object that I owned.   I haven’t the foggiest idea what the radio originally cost, but it was a magical entrance to another world.  As I was going through my storage boxes I ran across the radio, and I couldn’t believe I still had it.   For me, the first time I seriously listened to music was on this hand held machine.  The sound or the reception was never perfect, but it somehow added a sense of magic to the process.   There is what you heard when you see musicians play live, and then there is music you hear in a recording studio, and then of course on the turntable, where we had one huge speaker - mono only in the mid 1960s.  But the transistor radio had its own sound, which was tinny, and of course thinking of it now, it would be really annoying to listen to music that way.  But alas, my earliest impression of contemporary music that I liked, was on the transistor radio.  Also it was the first medium or tool for me to use that separate me from my parent’s taste.  Otherwise, I would get my music from my parents record collection and turntable.  My radio allowed me to wander into another world, where only I, can decide what to hear and when to hear it.



The two radio stations that were important to me were KHJ and KRLA.  The latter was actually more important to me because it appeared to be more Beatle related than KHJ.  That was likely to be an illusion on my part, but also the radio station had a newspaper called KRLA Beat, that was sort of like Rolling Stone for the teenage mind.  It was in this publication where I first started reading about music or I should say rock an’ roll stars as they were happening at that time.   KHJ was more personable due to it's DJ, specifically the Real Don Steele.



When I was close to 11 or 12, I went camping on the beach, which was a total horror show for me.  I can never understand the allure of nature for people. It is like they actually prefer dirt than a nice clean lighted place.  The point of time when the hot afternoon turns into a bitter cold evening is disgusting to me.  I remember spending most of the time in the tent that we brought with us.  Even that, the temperature was just so hot, but still, I didn’t want to be outside. So I put up with the heat to read the comic books that I brought with me to fight off the boredom of sand, blue sky, and ocean.  The transistor radio brought a sense of relief for me, because I used it as an object to block out the noise on the beach.  But what was really beautiful to me was playing the radio in the night, and I often would go off by myself near the ocean to sit on the cold sand.  I put the radio by my ear and it was like getting messages from another world.  I couldn’t imagine life without that radio.



Also the use of my imagination kept me alert during our beach holidays.  I imagine myself as Boy, the son of Tarzan.  Often I would imagine that my dad was the King of the Jungle, instead of Johnny Weissmuller.  I would have these elaborate narratives running through my head that I saved my dad and Jane (actually my mom) from some horrible circumstances that went beyond their control.   Those fantasies came with the soundtrack that was on the radio, and I remember actually listening to a program called  “The Shadow” while on the beach as well.  Hearing a show like that was very mysterious and a tad scary -especially in the nighttime on the beach.

Ironically I played “Boy” to Taylor Mead’s Tarzan in an Andy Warhol film, but that’s another narrative.  Nevertheless I am always thankful for Sony for bringing the magic of another world to me.

Everyone has seen the Windows XP desktop image called Bliss….



Everyone has seen the Windows XP desktop image called Bliss. It’s been ubiquitous for 13 years. And you’ve probably always thought that the serene hillside is kind of corny and probably fake. Nothing is that idyllic. But apparently it’s real! (via Charles O’Rear is the photographer who took the Windows XP wallpaper photo in Napa Valley.)

veganbrogans: Tranquility Forest in a Bugaloo mood. I used to…



veganbrogans:

Tranquility Forest

in a Bugaloo mood. I used to pretend that IQ and Harmony were my boyfriends. Harmony was my first Black Brit.

streeteraser: Brick Lane, London via Brady B.



streeteraser:

Brick Lane, London

via Brady B.

The simple way Google Maps could side-step its Crimea…



The simple way Google Maps could side-step its Crimea controversy

Now that Crimea has joined the “gray areas” of the world – the disputed territories that no one seems quite sure how to portray on a map – its cartographic status is suddenly a matter of importance. National Geographic recently got into a little bit of controversy for suggesting that it wouldn’t portray the area as part of Ukraine, for example. The situation might seem especially problematic for a service like Google Maps, which is not only one of the most high-profile mapping services in the world, but also incorporates crowd-sourcing into its mapping process (which has resulted in quite a few awkward moments over the years). Russian politicians are keeping an eye on what the mapping company is doing, with one State Duma deputy reportedly asking authorities to check with Google as to why they hadn’t portrayed Crimea as part of Russia yet. Google is smart about these things, however, and I suspect it will be able to sidestep any controversy here. Why? Because it does it all the time already. For an example of how that happens, take a look at the disputed border between China and India. Following a controversy over the status of Arunachal Pradesh (which is claimed by China but administered by India), Google took up a rather novel approach: showing China one thing, and India another.

Louise Lasser

louise

Consider the case that Mary Hartman Mary Hartman, the short-lived soap-opera parody starring LOUISE LASSER (born 1939) was the show that decisively turned American television inside out. The series ran five nights a week for just two seasons (1976–77), and riveted audiences with its pitch-perfect inversions of the soap canon of small-town perfidy and internecine romance, even as it opened the floodgates of televisual self-parody: see Soap, of course (1977–81), but also Seinfeld, The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Modern Family. Lasser, forever fetching in her kitchen pinafore and Longstocking pigtails, left after 325 episodes; the show limped on as Forever Fernwood and would eventually spawn the excellent talk-show parody Fernwood 2 Night, hosted by Barth Gimble (Martin Mull), twin brother of Mary Hartman villain Garth Gimble (Martin Mull). Gimble’s McMahon-style sidekick, Jerry Hubbard, was played by Fred Willard in the happily clueless manner that marks every superb performance Willard has since delivered, from delusional small-town actor in Christopher Guest’s flawless Waiting For Guffman (1996) to wise-cracking father of Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell, to whom he bears an eerie resemblance). Lasser, meanwhile, survived a four-year marriage to Woody Allen and a quiet post-Mary Hartman career, but she has executed various smart TV and movie cameos. These days you can see her playing a Manhattan artist of a certain age on Lena Dunham’s next-gen TV series, Girls. The girls know who she is.

***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Adriano Olivetti, Thomas Harris, Vincent Gallo, June and Jennifer Gibbons.

READ MORE about members of the Anti-Anti-Utopian Generation (1934-43).

Winsor McCay’s astonishing Sinking of the Lusitania…



Winsor McCay’s astonishing Sinking of the Lusitania (1918), an early combination of animation and agitprop. It contains engrossing making-of scenes, and expresses a remarkable materiality, with a wooden frame (of the animation stand?) visibly setting off the animated sequences.

Masterworks and facial detection.









Masterworks and facial detection.

April 10, 2014 (100th day)



April 10, 2014

The shock of the new for me is when Paul McCartney announced to the world that he was leaving The Beatles.  I was a teenager at the time, and of course, like most American teenagers I was totally wrapped up in everything that was the Fab Four.  It was the first time that I experienced the feeling that things can’t last forever, and their breakup caused a major head-fuck for me, because I couldn’t understand at the time, why they had to break up.  I mean, couldn’t they just talk it out.  What was worst was reading the John Lennon interview in Rolling Stone that year, where he just exposed all his inner-feelings about Paul to the public.  I was not only shocked to read this interview, but I actually hated him for letting his true feelings out.  I have great faith in a world where one has the illusion of a perfect domain, and that they should with all their power, keep that world intact.   Here, Lennon was shitting on the Beatle world, therefore my world as well.



The one illusion that was important to me was the TV series “The Rifleman” starring Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain and Johnny Crawford as his son, Mark McCain.   It was the first show to portray a widowed parent raising a child by himself.   Lucas’s character is that of a rancher who purchased a ranch and is making a concerted effort to make it all work, with his son helping out with the daily duties of running a ranch.  McCain was also a excellent rifleman, and had a specially made rifle which could be fired rapidly.   But the heart of the show is the relationship between Lucas and his son.  In fact, I never have seen such a relationship before on TV or in a film.  Whenever I watch the series I felt a great deal of comfort, because the Dad here is very decent, very powerful, and is basically concerned about his son’s welfare.   Scenes where McCain is without his son, or being tortured by a villain, were extremely disturbing to me.  Looking at the shows now, they do have a sub-text of S&M, at least emotionally so.  But at the time I was totally caught up with the relationship between Dad and Son.  I felt that way about The Beatles as well, because in my thoughts, here is a gang that won’t never let each other down.



Relationships are extremely important to me, and when something unexpectedly goes wrong, it disturbs me to the very core of my being.  I often can identify with the main character in Alain Resnais’s film “Last Year at Marienbad” written by Alain Robbe-Grillet.   The man approaches a woman at a social gathering at a baroque hotel, convinced that they have met the year before, and both agreed to meet the next year.  Now that the year has passed, he sees her, but she claimed to never had met him before.  In a sense he had a ‘false’ hope that this relationship will happen, but alas, it becomes an illusion of sorts.  My expectation of relationships, through the personal, as well as through the media of film and music, is one where I find myself wanting to assume that what I see on the screen or hear is true.  And it is true in my heart, but alas, the world moves differently in another dimension.


The great American composer Martin Denny portrayed a world that was beautiful and exotic through his music.  In the 1950s travel became a huge industry, and there was a need to find and visit exotic lands, for instance Hawaii.   Denny conveys a world that is Hawaii, but now I’m not sure if that is a correct representation.  I never been to Hawaii, but I know Hawaii through Denny’s music.  My Hawaii is very much expressed in Denny’s album “Exotica.”   There have been numerous times where I could have gone to Hawaii, but I always turn down the trip because I am deeply afraid that the Hawaii that I will come upon will not be the same as Denny’s Hawaii, and I wouldn’t be able to take the disappointment.

So the fact that Paul left The Beatles left a major scar in my psyche.  But also gave me the gift to observe that I live in two lives.  Almost in another dimension, in there is a world where things work out perfectly such as Martin Denny’s Hawaii landscape, and "The Rifleman."   On the other side is the Beatles split, and the disappointment that is the heart of “Last Year at Marienbad. ”

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