Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

April 23, 2014



April 23, 2014

As I learned from Johnny Hyde, never fall in love with your client.  They are many things that make a successful client, but one thing they are not, is an object of love from the agent’s point-of-view.   To be successful, you have to see your talent as an object, and know what that subject is worth the open or even closed market.   Johnny made the mistake in believing in his star client, when instead, he should have admired her from afar, like her fans.  He would gain a better understanding of her appeal and the needs of her fan base. 

What is it about guys who fall for their meal ticket?  They now come to you because they insist on vision and security of some sort.   If you cross that line, you become powerless in front of their eyes.  To be honest, it makes me sick to my stomach to see it happen to my type of guy in my type of occupation. Once I see an artist at work, it becomes a narrative right in front of me.  There is a beginning, a middle and of course an ending.  The thing is to be prepared for that crash in the third act, and make sure your client is comfortable when that time comes.  



I took my client to a nice bar for a intimate drink and to discuss business.  Roy Orbison’s “Only The Lonely” is playing softly on the jukebox, and I told her that we need to make some drastic, but positive, plans. There was a war photographer who freelances by the name of Lee.  She drinks like a fish and she had the guts to take a bath in Hitler’s tub right after the liberation of Munich.  I knew Lee for a long time, we were pals in Paris before the war, and at the time she was living and working together with another photographer, whose name doesn’t come to the front of my head at this moment.  But she did fashion, and she’s talented with the lens.  

I had a script with me that is based on Shakespeare’s “Richard the Third.” The movie was going to be original by updating the narrative to contemporary times.  Yet, keep the Shakespeare language intact.  I didn’t know if this would work or not, but my client did Shakespeare in her school, so I figure this would be a natural for her.   As I told her more about this project, she seemed to get less interested and was fidgety, and not drinking any of her drink as well.   She then asked if I would take her to an address in South Pasadena.  She just wanted to show me something there.   The address that she gave me was on 1071 South Orange Grove Avenue. 




When we arrived it was dark already, and it seemed to be a charming sleepy neighborhood in South Pasadena.  She indicated to me that there used to be a house here, not this one, but another one, that was destroyed by an explosion.  The house was the property of a scientist who worked for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and was known to be as an explosives expert.  He and his wife were getting ready to move to Mexico to work and live, but he accidentally dropped some chemicals, which in turn, caused an explosion and therefore his death.   Also both of them were under the tutelage of Aleister Crowley.  She mentioned this all to me, and just wanted to bring this story onto the big screen.   Me, being me, tried to link a Shakespeare theme or narration as she told me this very minimal but nevertheless interesting Mise-en-scéne.  At least that’s the way I looked at it.  We both sat in the car and stared at the property, not saying anything to each other.  I had the motor on, and over the radio we listened to Sergei Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64., Suite No. 1, Op.64c: Monagues and Capulets.”


Eyes Over Compton: How Police Spied on a Whole City – Conor…



Eyes Over Compton: How Police Spied on a Whole City - Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic

In a secret test of mass surveillance technology, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sent a civilian aircraft* over Compton, California, capturing high-resolution video of everything that happened inside that 10-square-mile municipality. Compton residents weren’t told about the spying, which happened in 2012. “We literally watched all of Compton during the times that we were flying, so we could zoom in anywhere within the city of Compton and follow cars and see people,” Ross McNutt of Persistence Surveillance Systems told the Center for Investigative Reporting, which unearthed and did the first reporting on this important story. The technology he’s trying to sell to police departments all over America can stay aloft for up to six hours. Like Google Earth, it enables police to zoom in on certain areas. And like TiVo, it permits them to rewind, so that they can look back and see what happened anywhere they weren’t watching in real time. If it’s adopted, Americans can be policed like Iraqis and Afghanis under occupation–and at bargain prices.

Persistence Surveillance Systems is the company behind the technology, as previously featured on One Visible Future.

File X (25)

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.

sinclair gluck minus x

Minus X (1933), by Sinclair Gluck.

*

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 |

How the Oculus Rift helped Roberta Firstenberg battle cancer By…



How the Oculus Rift helped Roberta Firstenberg battle cancer

By the end of 2013, Roberta Firstenberg was losing her battle with cancer. After several months of radiation therapy and chemotherapy, she was told that the treatments were no longer effective. It was around this time that her granddaughter, Priscilla Firstenberg – a 2D and 3D video game artist – moved in to help take care of her. Pri would come home after work each night and sit with her grandma. The two would talk long into the evening until Roberta fell asleep. It was during this time that Pri decided to record her grandma’s most cherished memories and stories. One night, Roberta revealed an usual dream she’d had, where a future, time travelling version of Pri and her sister came to visit. They promised to take Roberta back into the future and cure her cancer, using a time travelling chair that would also enable her to explore and see the world once again. Roberta remarked how she missed the outside world, in particular how she could no longer step into her own yard. Her favourite pastime was caring for the garden.

[The Oculus Rift support team sent Priscilla and Roberta a development kit. Subsequently, Priscilla discovered her grandmother had also been photographed by a Google car, and appeared in Google Street View - the screenshot above, in the Oculus version.]

That night, Pri loaded up Street View and handed the Rift headset to her grandma. “I could see her smile really wide as she looked around. She smiled as she looked herself up and down, but then it started to fade as she remarked: I look so healthy there…” Standing behind Roberta is Spec, her dog who had died just months earlier. “Look how young Spec is,” Roberta said, then asked Pri to stop the feed. As she wiped away a tear it was obvious she’d had enough for the day.

Full story, including video, via above link.

George Steiner

steiner

Aristotle (on Homer), Johnson (on Shakespeare), Benjamin (on Goethe): like these predecessors, GEORGE STEINER (born 1929) is one of the all-time great close readers. In books from After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation (1975) to No Passion Spent (1996), to Grammars of Creation (2001), Steiner puts Hermes back in charge of hermeneutics, and calls himself a humble mail carrier — a delivery boy who’ll never underappreciate the value of the cargo he’s taking from one place to another. About that cargo, Steiner is an unfashionable elitist: “No stupid literature, art or music lasts,” he insists. Nor is he interested in theory: Parasitic and cancerous he considers our addiction to secondary literature, to commentary, to “talk of talk.” He wants us to stick to the canonical texts; he laments the loss of rote, the glory of good, shared references.

[…] it safeguards the core of individuality. What is committed to memory and susceptible of recall constitutes the ballast of the self. The pressures of political exaction, the detergent tide of social conformity, cannot tear it from us.

And what references! Gadamer, Heidegger, Briefträger, Il Postino, Neruda, and the earth-shattering use of the word “and” in The Sun Also Rises — a reference to Ecclesiastes — conflate in his essays. In one small pile of his very readable big words is often summa summarum, the wisdom and breathable density of which few thinkers reach in their best books.

***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Roy Orbison, Lee Majors, Lee Miller.

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

“Various authors, including Jacques Vallée and John E. Mack, have suggested that the dichotomy…”

“Various authors, including Jacques Vallée and John E. Mack, have suggested that the dichotomy ‘real’ versus ‘imaginary’ may be too simplistic; that a proper understanding of this complex phenomenon may require a reevaluation of our concept of the nature of reality.”

- Alien abduction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The ABC of Aristotle, or, capping the rhyme

Crambo! (Typing up comments for a dissertation defense tomorrow morning and slightly went down the internet rabbit hole....)

Photo



documentassion: Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985), ‘Coucou Bazar’,…



documentassion:

Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985), ‘Coucou Bazar’, 1973,  performance, Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York.

skeletonsiro: in our copy of hana-bi the subtitles never leave…













skeletonsiro:

in our copy of hana-bi the subtitles never leave the screen until something else is said

thingsmagazine: Seamonsters, The Illustrated Man



thingsmagazine:

Seamonsters, The Illustrated Man

polychroniadis: ‘Dynasphere’ by Archibald Purves, 1932.



polychroniadis:

'Dynasphere' by Archibald Purves, 1932.

hipplibooks: 52 Fir Plywood Home Storage Plans. Abbott, Kerns…



hipplibooks:

52 Fir Plywood Home Storage Plans. Abbott, Kerns & Bell Co., 1955.

“The Adventures of Jodelle” by Guy Peelaert & Pierre Bartier




In one word: Superb.  This is not only an over-sized version of the comic strip "The Adventures of Jodelle," but also a mini-retrospective on the works of Guy Peelaert, who among other things, worked with Serge Gainsbourg, William Klein, and was totally in tuned with the American pop art scene of the 1960s.  Which by the way, the comic strip reads like a manifesto of the times - and to this day, the graphics are at least as fresh as youth going for their first kiss.  It's a remarkable book.  The first part is the comic strip by him and gag writer Pierre Bartier - and then one gets more detailed information about his works - such as the comic strips, set design, costume design and film.   So in other words, this is more of an art book than a graphic novel, or the graphic novel with something extra.   A lot of extra!   It is almost like a classic DVD set from Critierion, where you get the making of the film, but also sees the beginning of the drawings, the ideas as they are being worked out.  

I first heard of Guy Peelaert from his "Rock Dreams" book that he did with the great Nik Cohn, in the mid-1970s.  His comic strip work is totally different from the Rock Dreams art, but both works are iconic and they both share an awareness of culture of its time and past.  This book is very much an essential object to own - especially if you are interested in European 1960s pop world as well as exceptional graphic design work.  A beautiful book!

ISBN: 978-1606995303

April 22, 2014

April 22, 2014


April 22, 2014

Yesterday I wandered around Mono Records and purchased a Paul Chambers album “Whims of Chambers” and a Charles Mingus’ “Mingus Ah Um.” I found myself in the mood to hear bass, so it was the perfect moment at a record store.  I also found this old recording by the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, and Benjamin Britten playing piano for the surviving inmates of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after its liberation in April 1945.    The recording is rough, but a very intense performance, and of course it came to mind that as a child, Menuhin lived with the Boris Vian family somewhere in the French countryside, during the depression that was hitting Europe at the time.   Also I knew the name of Britten, but never heard his music till yesterday.  Very sad, yet majestic.  



With the new music around me, I am struggling with a book I am writing, regarding Bette Page’s life after being used as a model.  It struck me that perhaps I’m not the right man to write such an intense life as Bette’s.  It is not the bondage images of her that I find attractive, but just her nude model shots that express a certain mood, and as I look at this image now, it is nice to have a soundtrack by Paul Chambers, whose bass playing skirts around the melody, and I feel I’m doing the same thing with Bette. 



As I get older I realize I have a strong melancholy attitude towards my life, and at times, I try not to think of it.  I focus on music or even literature, but of course, and with me, those two mediums are just a window to my soul.  One of the reasons why I like jazz so much is due to the foundation there, and the musician plays with the landscape to make it suitable for their temperament or pleasure.  I often hear a piece of music in my head, and I slowly eliminate certain instruments, where eventually I have just the skeleton of the melody that’s left over.  




Jack Nitzsche’s great score to “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” stays in my mind as the perfect arrangement and the delicacy of the glass harp on the main theme is even more heartbreaking than the film.  I remember the grin on Jack Nicholson’s face, but nothing else in the film, except for the soundtrack, which remained with me for some reason.  I often find myself drifting into that gray cloud, and I’m watching down, and I think “surely there must be a better place.” 

Story of My Life

coketalk:

ffinicks:

I’m at that awkward age where half my friends are engaged or having babies, and the other half are too drunk to find their phones.

That’s not an age. That’s a lifestyle.

Store

I occasionally put things for sale on the interwebs, both on Etsy for the handmade stuff, and on Society6 for the robot-made stuff. The stock and quantities are forever shifting, so check back soon if what you want isn’t there at any moment.

Etsy Shop

Society6 Shop

Poolga also has a few mobile phone wallpapers by me, too.

I also made a few wallpapers for standard-sized desktops, because I love you guys so much. Click on a link and it will download automatically.

Fear the NSA (1024 x 768)
Incommunicado (1024 x 768)
Heat (1024 x 768)

How Not To Be Wrong Table of Contents

The good people of Penguin House have cleared me to post the table of contents of How Not To Be Wrong!  And here it is:


 

Introduction: When Am I Going To Use This?

Part I: LINEARITY

1. Less Like Sweden
2. Straight Locally, Curved Globally
3. Everyone is Obese
4. How Much is That in Dead Americans?
5. More Pie Than Plate

Part II: INFERENCE

6. The Baltimore Stockbroker and the Bible Code
7. Dead Fish Don’t Read Minds
8. Reductio ad Unlikely
9. The International Journal of Haruspicy
10. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Bayesian Inference

Part III: EXPECTATION

11. What To Expect When You’re Expecting To Win The Lottery
12. Miss More Planes!
13. Where the Train Tracks Meet

Part IV: REGRESSION

14. The Triumph of Mediocrity
15. Galton’s Ellipse
16. Does Lung Cancer Make You Smoke Cigarettes?

Part V: EXISTENCE

17. There Is No Such Thing As Public Opinion
18. “Out of nothing I have created a strange new universe”

Conclusion: How To Be Right


Earworms

A poem that has been ringing through my head as I do some of the reading for this week's committee meeting! I am not sure if I actually had to learn it by heart or if it's just so catchy that the final lines stuck with me....

timeless-couture: Vivenne Westwood Spring/Summer 2014 at Paris…



timeless-couture:

Vivenne Westwood Spring/Summer 2014 at Paris Fashion Week

See more from this collection here

“The concept of ecological restoration, as developed over the past 20 years, rests on the mistaken…”

The concept of ecological restoration, as developed over the past 20 years, rests on the mistaken assumption that we can somehow bring back past ecosystems by removing invasive species and replanting native species. This overly simplistic view of the world ignores two basic tenets of modern ecology — that environmental stability is an illusion, and that an unpredictable future belongs to the best adapted.

Many landscape architects feel conflicted by the restoration debate, trapped between the profession’s idealistic rhetoric about the innate superiority of native ecosystems and the constraints imposed by the financial and ecological realities of a particular site. Over the past 250 years, people have altered the basic trajectory of modern ecology to such an extent that going back to some earlier native condition is no longer possible and is certainly not a realistic solution to the increasingly complex environmental problems that we face.

Landscape architects — and anyone else who works directly with vegetation — need to acknowledge that a wide variety of so-called novel or emergent ecosystems are developing before our eyes. They are the product of the interacting forces of urbanization, globalization and climate change, and are made up of organisms that have been brought together by the elimination or neutralization of barriers that had kept them separated for millions of years. The concept of a novel ecosystem applies not only to our cities and suburbs but also to many landscapes that have been subjected to the disturbance-intensive practices of agriculture, industry and mining. It is unrealistic to assume that turning back the ecological clock will be any easier than reversing the economic forces that created these landscapes.

Landscape architecture can be a charged discipline, especially when it has to resolve the competing interests of its human clients with those of the other organisms that seek to inhabit the same space. The dichotomies that separate people from nature, and native from non-native species, present contradictions that landscape architects must resolve if they hope to have a lasting impact on the environments they design. My purpose here is to articulate an ecologically oriented vision for human-dominated landscapes that does not define them as intrinsically negative, valueless or alien.



- Peter Del Tredici, “The Flora of the Future.”

‘Ignore sat-nav’ sign (by rowanC82) A council has put up a sign…



'Ignore sat-nav' sign (by rowanC82)

A council has put up a sign warning lorry drivers to ignore their satellite navigation systems after faulty sat-nav directions caused traffic chaos in Wales. Vale of Glamorgan Council in South Wales is the first in the UK to use visual signs warning drivers not to believe sat-nav advice after once peaceful villages were reduced to bedlam when heavy-goods lorries got stuck in tiny country lanes. Now a sign aimed largely at foreign drivers has been put up on the outskirts of the village of St Hilary. “The proliferation of satellite navigation aids used in heavy goods vehicles, and their over-reliance, especially by overseas drivers, has presented itself as a problem within the Vale of Glamorgan,” a spokesman for the council’s highways department said.

'Ignore sat-nav' sign posted to protect village - Telegraph

Why aren’t math professors sociopaths?

Great open from Chris Hayes:

Imagine you’re a scientist in some sci-fi alternate universe, and you’ve been charged with creating a boot camp that will reliably turn normal but ambitious people into broken sociopaths more or less willing to do anything.

There are two main traits you’d want to cultivate in your recruits. The first would be terror: You’d want to ensure that the experimental subjects were kept off-­balance and insecure, always fearful that bad things would happen, that they would be humiliated or lose their position and be cast out. But at the same time, it would be crucial that you assiduously inculcate a towering sense of superiority, the belief that the project they happen to be engaged in is more important than anything and that, because of their remarkable skills and efforts, they are among the select few chosen to be a part of it. You’d want to simultaneously make them neurotically insecure and self-doubting and also filled with the conviction that they and their colleagues are smarter and better and more deserving than anyone else.

He’s writing about young investment bankers, whose lives, such as they are, are described in Kevin Roose’s new book “Young Money.”  But doesn’t this boot camp actually describe the Ph.D. experience pretty well?  And if so, why aren’t math professors sociopaths?

I can think of one reason:  in finance, the thing you are trying to do is screw over somebody else.  If you win, someone has lost.  Mathematics is different.  We’re all pushing together.  Not that there’s no competition; but it’s embedded in a fundamental consensus that we’re all on the same team.  Apparently this is enough to hold back the sociopathy, at least for most of us.


Vladimir Nabokov

nabokov-1

Impaling his characters’ vulnerable, finely articulated wings with the precision of the skilled lepidopterist he was, VLADIMIR NABOKOV (1899–1977) often earned the criticism that he held his creations in contempt. It’s as easy, and as misguided, to say that the lepidopterist loathes the monarchs he tenderly mounts for display. Many readers assume the psychological-realist faith that fictive characters, to be “believable,” must appear autonomous. But Nabokov knew that a specific and pervasive anxiety of the twentieth-century human was to feel gripped by unseen forces, ridiculed by omnipotent fates. As supreme deity of his imaginative realm, Vlad the Impaler was happy to play the role of an absent God, subjecting his figures to the comic-horrific predestinations of their own madnesses, lusts, and limitations. Humbert and Lolita, Shade and Kinbote, Professor Pnin and Sebastian Knight, their brethren and sistren — all are gloriously eccentric, unsettling creations, but each is also a brilliant organism, a thing to be studied and enjoyed by both reader and author. So finely etched, so fragile and elusive, Nabokov’s characters still flutter through the dales of our dreams, with such persistence and nearness that you feel the breeze of their passing, hear the desperate beating of their ephemeral wings.

***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Lee Miller, Roy Orbison, Lee Majors.

READ MORE about members of the Hardboiled Generation (1894-1903).

Fitbit Is Now Officially Profiting From Users’ Health Data |…



Fitbit Is Now Officially Profiting From Users’ Health Data | Betabeat

Fitbit has started to sell its trackers by the thousands to employers along with “sophisticated tracking software,” says a new report from Forbes. With employees’ permission, employers can then track their workers’ health, see how active individual employees are and foster a little healthy competition. Wiring up companies so that employers can monitor workers’ health is becoming “one of the fastest growing parts of Fitbit’s business,” Fitbit CEO James Park told Forbes.

Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell

Some people’s GLEN CAMPBELL (born 1938) is the one who sang “Rhinestone Cowboy.” Mine is the one who sang anonymous lead on the Sagittarius single “My World Fell Down”; who made Gentle on My Mind, a flawless construction of rural humor and Orbisonian agony that is also a concept album on the theme of manhood; and who at his 1966–70 best was a vocalist of genius. Rich and sure as a baritone, Glen was thin in the middle and strained at the upper register. But on material that mattered to him, he was also stunningly passionate, full of emotional aspiration, and with producer Al De Lory he made love songs into mountain climbs. “You’re My World,” “Crying,” “It’s Only Make Believe” and others lead the singer upward and inward at once, each stanza raising stakes on the last, each successive climax depositing him at a new plateau of wanting and not having. Glen fights like hell to stay on top of the song, give his emotions primacy over a keening, thrusting noise. The climax arrives — the singer will either plunge into the void or vanquish the summit — and at that moment he finds in himself a note to break the heart and explode the spirit. It is a reach for beauty to the exclusion of anything else in the world — to the exclusion of the world itself — and what more we could ask of a pop record I can’t imagine.

***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Aaron Spelling, Charles Mingus, John Waters, Giorgio Agamben.

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

Charlotte Rae

charlotterae-eys

Actor, comedian, singer, dancer: Milwaukee-native CHARLOTTE RAE (born 1926) everywhere astounds. The second of her Russian-Jewish parents’ three daughters, Rae graduated Milwaukee’s Shorewood High School and Northwestern University before moving to New York in 1948. Three Wishes For Jamie (1952) was Rae’s first Broadway musical and, despite a flawed book, the cast recording of Ralph Blane’s score has many merits. Opening in May 1954, Marc Blitzstein’s adaptation of The Threepenny Opera, with Rae as Mrs. Peachum, was a sensation, leading to Rae’s album, Songs I Taught My Mother, accompanied by her husband, composer John Strauss, “and his Baroque Bearcats.” In December 1955, Rae lectured on Beethoven in the greatest classical music comedy this side of Unfaithfully Yours: “The Twitch” episode of The Phil Silvers Show. Opening in May 1956, Rae’s The Littlest Revue performances were a triumph, likewise her Mammy Yoakum later that year in L’il Abner, where Michael Kidd’s choreography and Johnny Mercer’s lyrics notably achieved the spirit of Dogpatch. Car 54, Where Are You?, the cultural apex of Camelot, can’t be summarized save to celebrate that Rae was fully equal to Nat Hiken’s manifold genius. Even her negative reviews amused: “Rae wraps a leg around post, tosses feathers from a pillow and chases Pickwick like a famished vixen,” sniffed Howard Taubman in 1965. Innumerable hosannas would follow, however, and wondrous oddities: playing Woody Allen’s mother in Bananas (1971); playing Ron Liebman’s mother in The Hot Rock (1972); clapping Treat Williams’s ass in Hair (1979), before a too brief pas-de-deux.

Car 54, Where Are You?, “A Star Is Born In The Bronx” (1962)

Charlotte Rae topless for oil heat, c. early 1960s?

Bananas

Hair


***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Charles Mingus, Aaron Spelling, Giorgio Agamben, John Waters.

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

At midnight

this long-awaited book was delivered to my Kindle - hmmm, might be I will read it right now....

At midnight

this long-awaited book was delivered to my Kindle - hmmm, might be I will read it right now....

Publishers Weekly on HNTBW

Another nice review of How Not To Be Wrong — starred, even — from Publishers Weekly:

In this wry, accessible, and entertaining exploration of everyday math, Ellenberg, professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, shows readers how “knowing mathematics is like wearing a pair of X-ray specs” that reveal the hidden structure of the world. Too often, mathematics is taught as a “long list of rules” without any real-world application. Ellenberg stresses that even the most complex math is based on common sense and then proves it with examples that take the abstract and make it real. Lines and curves provide the foundation for explorations of the Affordable Care Act and the infamous Laffer curve (with a Ferris Bueller shout-out). The ancient and “extremely weird” Pythagoreans help us calculate the area of a tuna fish sandwich. The search for patterns in large, seemingly random data leads to a fascinating discussions of lotteries and of why “reading” sheep entrails isn’t a good way to predict stock prices. From discussing the difference between correlation and causation, to how companies use big data to predict your interests and preferences, Ellenberg finds the common-sense math at work in the everyday world, and his vivid examples and clear descriptions show how “math is woven into the way we reason.”

 

 


April 21, 2014



April 21, 2014

Not that long ago I went to Loch Ness to hopefully see the Loch Ness monster or known in that area as “Nessie.” I took a boat out in the middle of the night and I was by myself.  I was undergoing a depression, with respect to a novel I was writing, that I couldn’t finish for some reason called “Lascar: A Story You Must Forget.” I thought it might be a nice idea if I just, without thinking, take the boat out and maybe not return.  I didn’t want to drown, but I was hoping that I would be killed by the monster that was reportedly in the deep water.   I couldn’t see anything, but the reflection of the stars on that clear night on the water.  The beauty of being in such an environment is the absolute silence of the water.  Time-to-time, I would put my fingers in the water and slowly dragged them across and onto my boat.  I think I was hoping to be able to attract the attention of whatever was down there, but nothing happened, and the silence that came afterwards was like the big hole I was falling into due to my depression.



The only other time I have been made aware of a water creature was the Kappa, which is a Japanese myth (or they say) where he lived in the once existing river that ran through Tokyo.  I went by the district many times, and I saw an image of the Kappa that deeply affected my psyche.  Basically it is a warning to children not to mess with the dangers that are lurking in the waters.   It is likely to be for that reason why I don’t or cannot swim.  I have a deep subconscious fear of water being contained in large areas - which can mean to be anything from a lake, like Loch Ness, to a city owned swimming pool.

Throughout my life I had the fear of being dragged down by some creature of the deep, and the Loch Ness Monster has been an obsession of mine for many years now.  The Kappa was known to trick children to come to the water, and then eventually they would drown.  In most cases, these are just children playing too close to a body of water and eventually getting carried away by the water’s currents.  But the narrative is very much the same in that a Kappa approaches a child and entices them to come into the water with them.



Now that I am grown up I can see the Kappa as a form of depression, or a body or presence that one can say ‘Ah, you’re the reason for so and so.”   The Loch Ness monster may or may not be that type of phenomenon, yet as I drift aimlessly on that water, the only melody that came to my head was an old traditional country tune by the Louvin Brothers called “In The Pines,” which seemed to fit perfectly on this forlorn boat going nowhere.

Huntingtower (16)

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 16: In Which a Princess Leaves a Dark Tower and a Provision Merchant Returns to His Family

The three days of storm ended in the night, and with the wild weather there departed from the Cruives something which had weighed on Dickson’s spirits since he first saw the place. Monday — only a week from the morning when he had conceived his plan of holiday — saw the return of the sun and the bland airs of spring. Beyond the blue of the yet restless waters rose dim mountains tipped with snow, like some Mediterranean seascape. Nesting birds were busy on the Laver banks and in the Huntingtower thickets; the village smoked peacefully to the clear skies; even the House looked cheerful if dishevelled. The Garple Dean was a garden of swaying larches, linnets, and wild anemones. Assuredly, thought Dickson, there had come a mighty change in the countryside, and he meditated a future discourse to the Literary Society of the Guthrie Memorial Kirk on “Natural Beauty in Relation to the Mind of Man.”

It remains for the chronicler to gather up the loose ends of his tale. There was no newspaper story with bold headlines of this the most recent assault on the shores of Britain. Alexis Nicolaevitch, once a Prince of Muscovy and now Mr. Alexander Nicholson of the rising firm of Sprot and Nicholson of Melbourne, had interest enough to prevent it. For it was clear that if Saskia was to be saved from persecution, her enemies must disappear without trace from the world, and no story be told of the wild venture which was their undoing. The constabulary of Carrick and Scotland Yard were indisposed to ask questions, under a hint from their superiors, the more so as no serious damage had been done to the persons of His Majesty’s lieges, and no lives had been lost except by the violence of Nature. The Procurator-Fiscal investigated the case of the drowned men, and reported that so many foreign sailors, names and origins unknown, had perished in attempting to return to their ship at the Garplefoot. The Danish brig had vanished into the mist of the northern seas. But one signal calamity the Procurator-Fiscal had to record. The body of Loudon the factor was found on the Monday morning below the cliffs, his neck broken by a fall. In the darkness and confusion he must have tried to escape in that direction, and he had chosen an impracticable road or had slipped on the edge. It was returned as “death by misadventure” and the Carrick Herald and the Auchenlochan Advertiser excelled themselves in eulogy. Mr. Loudon, they said, had been widely known in the south-west of Scotland as an able and trusted lawyer, an assiduous public servant, and not least as a good sportsman. It was the last trait which had led to his death, for, in his enthusiasm for wild nature, he had been studying bird life on the cliffs of the Cruives during the storm, and had made that fatal slip which had deprived the shire of a wise counsellor and the best of good fellows.

The tinklers of the Garplefoot took themselves off, and where they may now be pursuing their devious courses is unknown to the chronicler. Dobson, too, disappeared, for he was not among the dead from the boats. He knew the neighbourhood and probably made his way to some port from which he took passage to one or other of those foreign lands which had formerly been honoured by his patronage. Nor did all the Russians perish. Three were found skulking next morning in the woods, starving and ignorant of any tongue but their own, and five more came ashore much battered but alive. Alexis took charge of the eight survivors, and arranged to pay their passage to one of the British Dominions and to give them a start in a new life. They were broken creatures, with the dazed look of lost animals, and four of them had been peasants on Saskia’s estates. Alexis spoke to them in their own language. “In my grandfather’s time,” he said, “you were serfs. Then there came a change, and for some time you were free men. Now you have slipped back into being slaves again — the worst of slaveries, for you have been the serfs of fools and scoundrels and the black passion of your own hearts. I give you a chance of becoming free men once more. You have the task before you of working out your own salvation. Go, and God be with you.”

Before we take leave of these companions of a single week I would present them to you again as they appeared on a certain sunny afternoon when the episode of Huntingtower was on the eve of closing. First we see Saskia and Alexis walking on the thymy sward of the cliff-top, looking out to the fretted blue of the sea. It is a fitting place for lovers, above all for lovers who have turned the page on a dark preface, and have before them still the long bright volume of life. The girl has her arm linked with the man’s, but as they walk she breaks often away from him, to dart into copses, to gather flowers, or to peer over the brink where the gulls wheel and oyster-catchers pipe among the shingle. She is no more the tragic muse of the past week, but a laughing child again, full of snatches of song, her eyes bright with expectation. They talk of the new world which lies before them, and her voice is happy. Then her brows contract, and, as she flings herself down on a patch of young heather, her air is thoughtful.

“I have been back among fairy tales,” she says. “I do not quite understand, Alesha. Those gallant little boys! They are youth, and youth is always full of strangeness. Mr. Heritage! He is youth, too, and poetry, perhaps, and a soldier’s tradition. I think I know him…. But what about Dickson? He is the petit bourgeois, the épicier, the class which the world ridicules. He is unbelievable. The others with good fortune I might find elsewhere — in Russia perhaps. But not Dickson.”

“No,” is the answer. “You will not find him in Russia. He is what we call the middle-class, which we who were foolish used to laugh at. But he is the stuff which above all others makes a great people. He will endure when aristocracies crack and proletariats crumble. In our own land we have never known him, but till we create him our land will not be a nation.”

Half a mile away on the edge of the Laver glen Dickson and Heritage are together, Dickson placidly smoking on a tree-stump and Heritage walking excitedly about and cutting with his stick at the bracken. Sundry bandages and strips of sticking plaster still adorn the Poet, but his clothes have been tidied up by Mrs. Morran, and he has recovered something of his old precision of garb. The eyes of both are fixed on the two figures on the cliff-top. Dickson feels acutely uneasy. It is the first time that he has been alone with Heritage since the arrival of Alexis shivered the Poet’s dream. He looks to see a tragic grief; to his amazement he beholds something very like exultation.

“The trouble about you, Dogson,” says Heritage, “is that you’re a bit of an anarchist. All you false romantics are. You don’t see the extraordinary beauty of the conventions which time has consecrated. You always want novelty, you know, and the novel is usually the ugly and rarely the true. I am for romance, but upon the old, noble classic lines.”

Dickson is scarcely listening. His eyes are on the distant lovers and he longs to say something which will gently and graciously express his sympathy with his friend.

“I’m afraid,” he begins hesitatingly, “I’m afraid you’ve had a bad blow, Mr. Heritage. You’re taking it awful well, and I honour you for it.”

The Poet flings back his head. “I am reconciled,” he says. “After all ”tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.’ It has been a great experience and has shown me my own heart. I love her, I shall always love her, but I realise that she was never meant for me. Thank God I’ve been able to serve her — that is all a moth can ask of a star. I’m a better man for it, Dogson. She will be a glorious memory, and Lord! what poetry I shall write! I give her up joyfully, for she has found her true mate. ‘Let us not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments!’ The thing’s too perfect to grieve about…. Look! There is romance incarnate.”

He points to the figures now silhouetted against the further sea. “How does it go, Dogson?” he cries. “‘And on her lover’s arm she leant’ — what next? You know the thing.”

Dickson assists and Heritage declaims:

“And on her lover’s arm she leant,
And round her waist she felt it fold,
And far across the hills they went
In that new world which is the old:
Across the hills, and far away
Beyond their utmost purple rim,
And deep into the dying day
The happy princess followed him.”

He repeats the last two lines twice and draws a deep breath. “How right!” he cries. “How absolutely right! Lord! It’s astonishing how that old bird Tennyson got the goods!”

After that Dickson leaves him and wanders among the thickets on the edge of the Huntingtower policies above the Laver glen. He feels childishly happy, wonderfully young, and at the same time supernaturally wise. Sometimes he thinks the past week has been a dream, till he touches the sticking-plaster on his brow, and finds that his left thigh is still a mass of bruises and that his right leg is wofully stiff. With that the past becomes very real again, and he sees the Garple Dean in that stormy afternoon, he wrestles again at midnight in the dark House, he stands with quaking heart by the boats to cut off the retreat. He sees it all, but without terror in the recollection, rather with gusto and a modest pride. “I’ve surely had a remarkable time,” he tells himself, and then Romance, the goddess whom he has worshipped so long, marries that furious week with the idyllic. He is supremely content, for he knows that in his humble way he has not been found wanting. Once more for him the Chavender or Chub, and long dreams among summer hills. His mind flies to the days ahead of him, when he will go wandering with his pack in many green places. Happy days they will be, the prospect with which he has always charmed his mind. Yes, but they will be different from what he had fancied, for he is another man than the complacent little fellow who set out a week ago on his travels. He has now assurance of himself, assurance of his faith. Romance, he sees, is one and indivisible….

Below him by the edge of the stream he sees the encampment of the Gorbals Die-Hards. He calls and waves a hand, and his signal is answered. It seems to be washing day, for some scanty and tattered raiment is drying on the sward. The band is evidently in session, for it is sitting in a circle, deep in talk.

As he looks at the ancient tents, the humble equipment, the ring of small shockheads, a great tenderness comes over him. The Die-Hards are so tiny, so poor, so pitifully handicapped, and yet so bold in their meagreness. Not one of them has had anything that might be called a chance. Their few years have been spent in kennels and closes, always hungry and hunted, with none to care for them; their childish ears have been habituated to every coarseness, their small minds filled with the desperate shifts of living…. And yet, what a heavenly spark was in them! He had always thought nobly of the soul; now he wants to get on his knees before the queer greatness of humanity.

A figure disengages itself from the group, and Dougal makes his way up the hill towards him. The Chieftain is not more reputable in garb than when we first saw him, nor is he more cheerful of countenance. He has one arm in a sling made out of his neckerchief, and his scraggy little throat rises bare from his voluminous shirt. All that can be said for him is that he is appreciably cleaner. He comes to a standstill and salutes with a special formality.

“Dougal,” says Dickson, “I’ve been thinking. You’re the grandest lot of wee laddies I ever heard tell of, and, forbye, you’ve saved my life. Now, I’m getting on in years, though you’ll admit that I’m not that dead old, and I’m not a poor man, and I haven’t chick or child to look after. None of you has ever had a proper chance or been right fed or educated or taken care of. I’ve just the one thing to say to you. From now on you’re my bairns, every one of you. You’re fine laddies, and I’m going to see that you turn into fine men. There’s the stuff in you to make Generals and Provosts — ay, and Prime Ministers, and Dod! it’ll not be my blame if it doesn’t get out.”

Dougal listens gravely and again salutes.

“I’ve brought ye a message,” he says. “We’ve just had a meetin’ and I’ve to report that ye’ve been unanimously eleckit Chief Die-Hard. We’re a’ hopin’ ye’ll accept.”

“I accept,” Dickson replies. “Proudly and gratefully I accept.”

The last scene is some days later, in a certain southern suburb of Glasgow. Ulysses has come back to Ithaca, and is sitting by his fireside, waiting on the return of Penelope from the Neuk Hydropathic. There is a chill in the air, so a fire is burning in the grate, but the laden tea-table is bright with the first blooms of lilac. Dickson, in a new suit with a flower in his buttonhole, looks none the worse for his travels, save that there is still sticking-plaster on his deeply sunburnt brow. He waits impatiently with his eye on the black marble timepiece, and he fingers something in his pocket.

Presently the sound of wheels is heard, and the peahen voice of Tibby announces the arrival of Penelope. Dickson rushes to the door and at the threshold welcomes his wife with a resounding kiss. He leads her into the parlour and settles her in her own chair.

“My! but it’s nice to be home again!” she says. “And everything that comfortable. I’ve had a fine time, but there’s no place like your own fireside. You’re looking awful well, Dickson. But losh! What have you been doing to your head?”

“Just a small tumble. It’s very near mended already. Ay, I’ve had a grand walking tour, but the weather was a wee bit thrawn. It’s nice to see you back again, Mamma. Now that I’m an idle man you and me must take a lot of jaunts together.”

She beams on him as she stays herself with Tibby’s scones, and when the meal is ended, Dickson draws from his pocket a slim case. The jewels have been restored to Saskia, but this is one of her own which she has bestowed upon Dickson as a parting memento. He opens the case and reveals a necklet of emeralds, any one of which is worth half the street.

“This is a present for you,” he says bashfully.

Mrs. McCunn’s eyes open wide. “You’re far too kind,” she gasps. “It must have cost an awful lot of money.”

“It didn’t cost me that much,” is the truthful answer.

She fingers the trinket and then clasps it round her neck, where the green depths of the stones glow against the black satin of her bodice. Her eyes are moist as she looks at him. “You’ve been a kind man to me,” she says, and she kisses him as she has not done since Janet’s death.

She stands up and admires the necklet in the mirror. Romance once more, thinks Dickson. That which has graced the slim throats of princesses in far-away Courts now adorns an elderly matron in a semi-detached villa; the jewels of the wild Nausicaa have fallen to the housewife Penelope.

Mrs. McCunn preens herself before the glass. “I call it very genteel,” she says. “Real stylish. It might be worn by a queen.”

“I wouldn’t say but it has,” says Dickson.

THE END

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”

timeless-couture: Vivenne Westwood Spring/Summer 2014 at Paris…



timeless-couture:

Vivenne Westwood Spring/Summer 2014 at Paris Fashion Week

See more from this collection here

Photo



Soccer Fans Protesting E-Ticketing System Clash With Police in…



Soccer Fans Protesting E-Ticketing System Clash With Police in Turkey, via Adam H.

International soccer matches have a reputation for occasionally rowdy fans, but on Sunday Police in Turkey were dealing with a fan uprising not related to the outcome of a game but to a new e-ticketing system. Fans of the Fenerbahce, Besiktas and Galatasaray soccer clubs took to the streets to protest a new e-ticketing system called Passolig that allows the operator of the system to view the ticket holder’s private data, including their national identity data and banking information. Police used tear gas and water cannons in an attempt to disperse hundreds of protesters on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul, according to a report in the Hurriyet Daily News.

Ronny Elliott

RonnyElliott-MeaningToWrite

It was an auspicious April in Birmingham, Alabama when RONNY ELLIOTT (born 1947) entered the world: Merle Travis and Louis Jordan topped Billboard’s “folk” and “race” charts, respectively, while Jackie Robinson’s Brooklyn Dodgers’ debut challenged America’s worst racial assumptions. At age seven, Elliott moved to Tampa, Florida, where his mother worked for Peninsular Telephone and encouraged her son’s musical interests: country, R&B, and rockabilly, of which Benny Joy was Tampa’s greatest export. Meeting Elvis during the July 1961 filming of Follow That Dream and seeing the Beatles’ January 1964 Jack Paar Program appearance sealed Elliott’s rock-n-roll fate. Thus a bassist’s theogony: the Raveons begat the garage-punk Outsiders and the bluesy Soul Trippers begat Noah’s Ark, 1967 Decca recording artists, just like Rick Nelson and Ernest Tubb. Fronted by magician Harry Hayward, Duckbutter, “a 5-man funky country rock group from Tampa… is a fool band, taking nothing seriously” reported the Miami News in July 1970. “Their bag is humor, instead of heavy, sad message songs” and when the bag was empty, Elliott quit. Then, in 1995, awaited by nobody, he returned, an avuncular yet urgent singer-songwriter exploring the territory between, say, Jimmie Driftwood and Joe Tex, history and aphorism. If Elliot’s two best albums are the expansive Poisonville (2001) — Martin Luther King, Sid and Nancy, Queen Lili’uokalani — and the satori-savvy Hep (2003) — including the Kerouac threnody, “Jack’s St. Pete Blues” — other highlights abound: mandolin vamps; pedal steel whines; Harry “The Hipster” Gibson revived; where the soul of Wynonie Harris never dies.

Outsiders “Summertime Blues” (1966)

Noah’s Ark “Love In” (1967)

Duckbutter gospel medley c. 1969-70?

“Jack’s St. Pete Blues”

***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Max Weber, Iggy Pop.

READ MORE about members of the Blank Generation (1944-53).

Reader survey: in what small way are you weird?

Lots of us are weird in big, noticeable ways, that’s for sure.  But I was looking the other day at a series of photographs of people’s fridges and I realized, you know what’s weird about me?  In a small, barely noticeable way?  I don’t have any beer in my fridge.  I never do.  In fact, I don’t really have any alcohol in the house of any kind.  Maybe a bottle of Trader Joe’s white wine I used a cup of for cooking at one point.  OK, I just looked and there’s a bottle of rum in the back of the cupboard.  Who knows where it came from or how long it’s been there?

It’s not that I don’t drink; I do.  But I don’t drink at home.  For me, beer is for drinking at bars, or at parties.  I would never sit and drink a beer and watch the ballgame, or drink a glass of wine with family dinner.  But I think this is actually slightly weird and almost all people have beer in the fridge.

Reader survey:  in what small way are you weird?

(Note:  this would make an excellent question for OKCathy!)

 

 

 


Boeing test flights (Superbowl celebrations, 747-8, 787…







Boeing test flights (Superbowl celebrations, 747-8, 787 Dreamliner), via FlightAware.

In December 2011 I learned from a Google Alert that the Mexican…



In December 2011 I learned from a Google Alert that the Mexican Government had disrupted a plot they dubbed “Operation Guest” to smuggle Saadi Gaddafi, the son of the late Col. Muammar Gaddafi, from Niger, Africa to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, MX under the assumed name Daniel Bejar Hanan. Investigators also discovered false passports and birth certificates with the surname Bejar for Saadi, his wife, and two children. Saadi was to assume the name Daniel Bejar Hanan; coincidentally my name is Daniel Bejar, and we also share a similar likeness. Utilizing this bizarre coincidence as a unique opportunity to continue my research into questions of identity, authorship, and geo-politics, I traveled to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, MX to realize this story through documented site- specific performances in the safe houses, beaches and resturaunts Saadi was to spend the rest of his days in. (via Daniel Bejar - “Operation Guest (Pool #1)”)

Via Meredith Yayanos.



Via Meredith Yayanos.

“A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton” by Holly George-Warren



I have not previously met a person who didn't like something by Alex Chilton.   He's a cult artist by definition, but he is without a doubt a major work who made priceless pieces of treasure throughout his long career in music making.  Why he didn't play the Greek Theater or the Olympia or Albert Hall on a regular basis is not his fault, but it was  the 'general' audience that was asleep at the wheel, or using their extra funds foolishly by buying 'that' other record.  At this point and time, everyone 'now' knows that Big Star are essential recordings as well as his long and complicated solo career.  And of course, The Box Tops, you can't forget that!

The story of Alex is really the story of the South, and the southern aesthetic in how it played to the rest of the world, as well as the influences that touched the region that Chilton came from.   In other words, it's a Cecil DeMille production, but in reality it was directed by Sam Fuller.  Chilton and Big Star are blessed with some exceptional books.   Rob Jovanovic's biography on Big Star and Bruce Eaton's focus on Big Star's Radio City are excellent titles.  So is this biography by Holly George-Warren, which is well-researched and well-rounded view of this unique figure.   "A Man Called Destruction" (a catchy title, but I feel there is nothing tragic or destructive about Alex, compared to.... Chet Baker or ....etc.) covers all the bases and she, like the other writers, has a feel on Alex, his music, and his world.  The thing is Alex is just one character in this fascinating story - the whole creative and boho culture of Memphis is also part of this story.

I always felt that Alex's genius lies in not only in his music, but in his culture as well.   What you get is black American culture, Elvis culture, and William Eggleston culture as well.   It's an insane world, but one that is totally manageable, but it does have its tragic side as well.   I got the feeling from reading this book and the others that he really felt the death of his parents, Chris Bell, and his brothers - he didn't talk about it, but the silence is pretty loud. Excellent biography.

Eggishness

These are amazing!

Closing tabs

“A body-temperature wallet is a petri dish.” (Via Tyler Cowen.)

Also: the private lives of public bathrooms (via I.H.D.).

Snails.

Upcoming: Little Women/Girls mashup - see it while you can!

Good but busy week upcoming (still have slightly implausible amount of work to do between now and Wednesday morning): a dissertation defense, an oral exam, the regular weekly meetings and seminars, but also tickets to various friends' artistic enterprises (this, this and this).

I am sad to have finished all three books of Jane Gardam's Old Filth trilogy! And surprised I didn't read them sooner. They are perhaps not quite as much to my taste as Susan Howatch's Church of England books (I prefer a novel's span to be defined by a period of crisis rather than the entirety of the character's life), but they are very good indeed - I will certainly read her other ones. Have been reading a lot of top-secret books for the Tenure Review Advisory Committee - I suppose at the end of the year I could make a few recommendations, as committee membership is public and so is fact of tenuring, once it's gone through final stages of approval.

Highlight of the week: IMAX 3D Island of Lemurs: Madagascar! Only was able to stay for the first two segments of The Mysteries on Thursday evening (I got home at 11pm and still had a couple more hours of work I had to do before Friday morning meetings, really couldn't face getting home a couple hours later than that with remaining work ditto!); not sure it is quite as transcendent as the Sophocles marathon a few years ago (there is unevenness in the switch from one playwright to another, also too many of them want to make the same sophomoric jokes), but many great aspects, and I definitely recommend it.

Closing tabs

“A body-temperature wallet is a petri dish.” (Via Tyler Cowen.)

Also: the private lives of public bathrooms (via I.H.D.).

Snails.

Upcoming: Little Women/Girls mashup - see it while you can!

Good but busy week upcoming (still have slightly implausible amount of work to do between now and Wednesday morning): a dissertation defense, an oral exam, the regular weekly meetings and seminars, but also tickets to various friends' artistic enterprises (this, this and this).

I am sad to have finished all three books of Jane Gardam's Old Filth trilogy! And surprised I didn't read them sooner. They are perhaps not quite as much to my taste as Susan Howatch's Church of England books (I prefer a novel's span to be defined by a period of crisis rather than the entirety of the character's life), but they are very good indeed - I will certainly read her other ones. Have been reading a lot of top-secret books for the Tenure Review Advisory Committee - I suppose at the end of the year I could make a few recommendations, as committee membership is public and so is fact of tenuring, once it's gone through final stages of approval.

Highlight of the week: IMAX 3D Island of Lemurs: Madagascar! Only was able to stay for the first two segments of The Mysteries on Thursday evening (I got home at 11pm and still had a couple more hours of work I had to do before Friday morning meetings, really couldn't face getting home a couple hours later than that with remaining work ditto!); not sure it is quite as transcendent as the Sophocles marathon a few years ago (there is unevenness in the switch from one playwright to another, also too many of them want to make the same sophomoric jokes), but many great aspects, and I definitely recommend it.

kiameku: David Shrigley Swan 2000 Cast polyurethane resin…



kiameku:

David Shrigley
Swan
2000
Cast polyurethane resin object with label
2.5 x 12.5 x 8 cm

OKCathy

This week’s Aunt Pythia column features Cathy O’Neil’s take on what questions online daters ought to have to answer in their profiles:

How sexual are you? (super important question)
How much fun are you? (people are surprisingly honest when asked this)
How awesome do you smell? (might need to invent technology for this one)
What bothers you more: the big bank bailout or the idea of increasing the minimum wage?
Do you like strong personalities or would you rather things stay polite?
What do you love arguing about more: politics or aesthetics?
Where would you love to visit if you could go anywhere?
Do you want kids?
Dog person or cat person?
Do you sometimes wish the girl could be the hero, and not always fall for the hapless dude at the end?

I gotta say, thinking back to when I was single, during the second Clinton administration, I don’t think these are the questions I personally would most want to ask of my prospective dates.

On the other hand, I think the questions provide a near-perfect portrait of Cathy!  So let me offer my own suggestion:  maybe profiles shouldn’t have any answers.  Maybe they should just have questions.  And you contact the person whose questions you’d like to answer.

What would your questions be?

 

 


OKCathy

This week’s Aunt Pythia column features Cathy O’Neil’s take on what questions online daters ought to have to answer in their profiles:

How sexual are you? (super important question)
How much fun are you? (people are surprisingly honest when asked this)
How awesome do you smell? (might need to invent technology for this one)
What bothers you more: the big bank bailout or the idea of increasing the minimum wage?
Do you like strong personalities or would you rather things stay polite?
What do you love arguing about more: politics or aesthetics?
Where would you love to visit if you could go anywhere?
Do you want kids?
Dog person or cat person?
Do you sometimes wish the girl could be the hero, and not always fall for the hapless dude at the end?

I gotta say, thinking back to when I was single, during the second Clinton administration, I don’t think these are the questions I personally would most want to ask of my prospective dates.

On the other hand, I think the questions provide a near-perfect portrait of Cathy!  So let me offer my own suggestion:  maybe profiles shouldn’t have any answers.  Maybe they should just have questions.  And you contact the person whose questions you’d like to answer.

What would your questions be?

 

 


Dark Rye does Present Shock

This artfully-produced little film about me and Present Shock just came out from Dark Rye, a film series funded by Whole Foods. I have trouble looking at it, myself, but that might just be because it's me on the screen, looking into lens most of the time. The movie recreates the experience of present shock, which is probably why it feels a bit frenetic to me. But I have shown it to my friends, who agree that it does well communicate the concepts of the book - and in just a few minutes at that.

The filmmaker, Angus Cann, is super bright, and I encourage you to check out some of his other work on the site. Here's a link to the whole Rushkoff section:

http://www.darkrye.com/content/rushkoff-0

April 20, 2014



April 20, 2014

It has been a frustrating week. Yet, I was thrilled to get a beautiful gift from a friend of mine in Colorado.   She sent me some flowers, and not only that, but my favorite species of flower, the Colorado Blue Columbine.    I went to high school in that area of the world, and the one thing that stood out for me was seeing these flowers grow naturally around the area.  I almost have a manic need to have them around me as much as possible.  So I was very grateful to obtain this special delivery yesterday.   Right now, I’m playing Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit, ” and trying to make plans to visit Germania, one of my all-time favorite cities in Europe.  Some years back, I was invited to give a talk on a panel regarding urban planning of that city, and it always been a point of interest for me, because it seems most cities are planned as they are happening, not as something to look forward to in the future.





It was proposed to have a large clock in the downtown area of Germania, where as a tribute to the cinema arts, there would have been a statue attached to the clock of a man dangling on one of the clock hands.  Unmistakably a tribute to Harold Lloyd.  The plan never came to fruition, due that there were fears that people may have mistaken this as an actual person on the clock, either stuck there or about to commit suicide.  I tried very hard to convince the city government to follow through the tribute to Lloyd, but I was cut off by the committee at the time.  Nevertheless I did arrange a retrospective of Paul Poiret’s clothing in Germania.   He was recognized as the Picasso of fashion, during the turn-of-the-century.  He basically freed women from restrictive clothing, but like all good things, it had to end sadly.  He lost his business, and died pretty much broke.   He was married for many years, and his wife was his main muse. Nevertheless, that relationship turned very sour, and he never recovered from the divorce nor got his reputation back again.  One can see it now as him being Warhol, and his wife as Edie Sedgwick.
























I have had sentimental thoughts regarding Germania, ever since my 50th birthday party there, organized by the Government cultural committee.   Due to my interest in culture, I have brought numerous exhibitions and events to that city, and I guess this was their way to honor me as well as saying thank you.   The gifts they gave me were border-line kitsch, but on the other hand, I appreciated their gesture and goodwill towards me.   So yes, this past week has been difficult on many counts, but still, I look forward to the week ahead.  Also since April is my favorite month, I am listening to April March's recordings throughout the day. I think there will be a change in the weather.

Dutch TV’s Tegenlicht does Present Shock

The strangely compelling Dutch TV show Tegenlicht offers artists, musicians, and writers 45 minutes to explain themselves, using media and objects that relate to their ideas. Here's me doing Present Shock in this wonderfully expansive format.

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