hragv:Wrapped arrow #Dubai (at AlSerkal Avenue; Dubai)


Wrapped arrow #Dubai (at AlSerkal Avenue; Dubai)


“When we moved to East L.A., we lived on a very integrated block. We had a lot of Jewish people,…”

“When we moved to East L.A., we lived on a very integrated block. We had a lot of Jewish people, black people, Mexican-Americans, Asians. It was a little magical block on Highpoint Street. Frankly, it was hell for me in other ways, but in terms of friends on my block, we were a tight group. My elementary school was a magnet school that brought in kids from around the city, so I had kids in my life from all races and stuff.”


Why Can’t I Be You: Danyel Smith

This interview with Vibe editor/write Danyel Smith is hilariously tweegro. 


scribe4haxan:Solomon ~ by Natalia Smirnova… making our powers…


Solomon ~ by Natalia Smirnova…

making our powers manifest


Happy Vernal Equinox 2015

Happy Vernal Equinox 2015


fabriciusitalicus:Alois Kolb (1875-1942), ex-libris


Alois Kolb (1875-1942), ex-libris


The last…

At the end of January my father and I were both keen to read Antonia Fraser's memoir of childhood, My History; it's not properly published in the US, i.e. unavailable for Kindle, so he kindly ordered us each a copy from the Book Depository in the UK. Thus leading to my painful awareness, as I read the book this week with considerable pleasure, that this is the last book my father will ever send me....

A passage that I know would have caught his eye, as Enid Blyton was also famously banned by the librarian in the Kirkcaldy of my father's childhood:
One author was never allowed to pollute our imaginations and that was Enid Blyton. In an excess of Thirties moralistic disapproval - the only example of such that I can remember - my mother banned her works. Unusually for me, I took no steps to get hold of the books in question later from the library. Indeed, I followed my mother when dealing with my own family, more for reasons of intellectual snobbery, I suspect, rather than anything else. My daughters, however, showed more spirit: it was not long before a stockpile of the dread works came tumbling out of their wardrobe. 'Jane' - a lively schoolfriend - 'gave them to us' was the explanation. 'She felt sorry for us not being able to read them. It was so exciting reading them in secret.' (A lesson, surely, in the dangers of censorship.)
To a curious degree, I share some of Fraser's influences in the matter of childhood reading: I suppose these were my English grandmother's books rather than even my mother's (Our Island Story and the unforgettably good Puck of Pook's Hill and Rewards and Fairies). When it came to Our Island Story, I was particularly fascinated by the story of the coming of Hengist and Horsa, which Fraser doesn't single out here but which I cannot resist quoting:
Then Hengist said, "You have indeed given us lands and houses, but as we have helped you so much I think you should give me a castle and make me a prince."

"I cannot do that," replied Vortigern. "Only Britons are allowed to be princes in this land. You are strangers and you are heathen. My people would be very angry if I made any one but a Christian a prince."

At that Hengist made a low bow, pretending to be very humble. "Give your servant then just so much land as can be surrounded by a leather thong," he said.

Vortigern thought there could be no harm in doing that, so he said, "Yes, you may have so much." But he did not know what a cunning fellow Hengist was.

As soon as Vortigern had given his consent, Hengist and Horsa killed the largest bullock they could find. Then they took its skin and cut it round and round into one long narrow strip of leather. This they stretched out and laid upon the ground in a large circle, enclosing a piece of land big enough upon which to build a fortress.

If you do not quite understand how Hengist and Horsa managed to cut the skin of a bullock into one long strip, get a piece of paper and a pair of scissors. Begin at the edge and cut the paper round and round in circles till you come to the middle. You will then find that you have a string of paper quite long enough to surround a brick castle. If you are not allowed to use scissors, ask some kind person to do it for you.

Vortigern was very angry when he learned how he had been cheated by Hengist and Horsa. But he was beginning to be rather afraid of them, so he said nothing, but allowed them to build their fortress. It was called Thong Castle, and stood not far from Lincoln, at a place now called Caistor.
It's a very interesting memoir, but shallow rather than deep: you only get glimpses into more complicated ideas and states of feeling (I liked the aside where Fraser notes of her father that his trait of marking a book with a strong pencil as he read was so characteristic and ingrained that "after his death, I was able to identify a copy of the New Testament left behind in the House of Lords library, without an owner's name, but full of those ritual stabbings"). And here are a few of the passages that most resonated with me:
It is a fact that, being a quick reader, apart from enabling a person to study good books such as Macaulay and Gibbon, enables a person to read a lot of bad books as well. It would however be ungrateful to pick out the titles that gave me such pleasure and stigmatize them as bad books; besides, I would maintain that such books can teach you narrative skill, which certainly never comes amiss in writing History.
And again:
It was now for the first time that the pleasure of what for tax purposes I came to term (perfectly accurately) Optical Research was revealed to me. It also could be called Going to Places and Looking at Them. But what an essential process it is in the making of a historical biography! With the respectful handling of the original documents, it ranks as one of the major ways of reaching what G. M. Trevelyan in his Autobiography called 'the poetry of history': 'the quasi-miraculous fact that once, on this earth, once, on this familiar spot of ground, walked other men and women, as actual as we are today, thinking their own thoughts, swayed by their own passions, but now all gone, one generation vanishing after another . . .'
(Note to self: you must write that little book about Gibbon's Rome!)

Other appealing details concern the "Fish Furniture" at Admiralty House and Cecil Beaton's pedantic habit of preferring the plural "gins-and-tonic": a life of privilege needless to say, which has irked some readers I think, but I couldn't put it down.

Code-X (55)



A lovely interview with Dorothea Lasky at P&W (via Robert Polito):
I use that word “performance” a lot when discussing teaching, and I really believe that what the teacher is doing is a performance. You are saying that this set of behaviors has some meaning. That’s what you’re doing is a spell as well, and that’s definitely what you’re doing in a poem. A poem asserts: I’ve made this line, and this is going to have some effect on you. Just the act of believing does make it have an effect. For example, in a class, if I am going to get ten oranges and ask students to write a poem, just the fact that a teacher has decreed that as important—it does become important. You have a classroom of students who have not only thought deeply about oranges, you also have a classroom’s worth of poems about oranges. Or if we say that we’re going to read John Donne, then that becomes really important. A whole group of people will see his work in a new way—it wouldn’t have happened otherwise, if the people had simply read him on their own. It may seem arbitrary and specific to the particular teacher, and it is, in a holy way. Every teacher brings their style into the classroom in ways that both crucial and critical and this why we still need real-life teachers, not machines, to teach our students.

Sympathy for the devil

Gore Vidal's morning-after revisionism.

stadslente:Airport in Berlin becomes public space. For almost…


Airport in Berlin becomes public space. For almost 100 years, the former Tempelhof Airport was excluded from the layout of the growing city of Berlin. Although it symbolised the connection of people and cities, the airport itself cut off the adjoining neighbourhoods of Neukölln, Kreuzberg and Tempelhof from each other. This has changed since the opening up of the airport grounds to the public in May 2010. The former airport building, the emerging park landscape and the building areas at the edges of the former airfield merge to form a giant public space. Current planning at the site focuses on social, cultural and economic diversity.  In order to be able to transform Tempelhofer Freiheit into a future-oriented component in Berlin’s inner city, it is necessary to pay need to a wide array of existing conditions, expectations and requirements in the overall urban community.


Preview of “June 1, 2014″ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

A preview of "JUNE 1, 2014" By Tosh Berman and published by The Synesthesia Press


witchy the pooh and the blustery day

witchy the pooh and the blustery day


Logging catch-up

Have had a good miscellany of light reading, but it's been too long since I logged it: better do some catch-up, with recommendations.

Lavie Tidhar, The Violent Century: I had been awaiting this one avidly, and it more than lived up to expectations. I loved this book! It's even better than Ian Tregillis's Milkweed books. And also rather better than another not-bad Zeitgeist twin I read the same week, Justin Richards's The Suicide Exhibition.

A book that could have been written for me and me alone: Jo Walton, The Just City. Read this if you grew up on The Last of the Wine and/or ever wished you could live in Plato's Republic!

A wonderful novel that rightly bears comparison to The Fountain Overflows and I Capture the Castle: Nina Stibbe, Man at the Helm.

A new installment in a brilliant series (everyone who likes crime fiction should be reading these): Adrian McKinty, Gun Street Girl.

A book that is pretty much exactly what I most enjoy in fantasy: Katherine Addison's The Goblin Emperor. Hungry for next installment NOW!

A perfect light-reading novella: Zen Cho, The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo (and I'm also halfway through her excellent story collection Spirits Abroad). Someone must get me an ARC of her forthcoming novel Sorceror to the Crown!

A novel of Cayman, Elke Feuer's Deadly Bloodlines (well-written once you swallow the demographic implausibility of a Caymanian police detective whose mother is a notorious serial killer!).

An also implausible but reasonably well-written thriller/police procedural (it couldn't decide which element was more dominant): Rachel Abbott, Only the Innocent.

Ian Tregillis's latest, The Mechanical (too much of the imaginative energy has gone into the concept and not enough into characters and voice).

Comfort read: Patricia Briggs, Dead Heat.

Comfort reread: Robin McKinley, Shadows.

Also, appealingly, my friend "Lilia Ford"'s Pet to the Tentacle Monsters!

The Unconquerable (38)

macinnesTo the Mountains

dvdp: 3d-printing is becoming adultContinuous Liquid Interface…


3d-printing is becoming adult

Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) is a technology that grows parts from a pool of resin by carefully balancing the interaction of light and oxygen. It produces consistent and predictable mechanical properties, while it’s 25 to 100 times faster than traditional (layered) 3d-printing

via vox


Math Bracket 2015

March Math Madness is here!  Presenting the 2015 math bracket, as usual prepared by our crack team of handicappers here at the UW math department.  As always, remember that the math bracket is for entertainment purposes only and you should not take offense if the group rated your department lower than the plainly inferior department that knocked you out.  Under no circumstances should you use the math bracket to decide where to go to grad school.

Math Bracket 2015-page-0Lots of tough choices this year!




Queridos Defeños, nos vemos este sabado! This weekend I head down to Mexico City to DJ the 5th anniversary of Pulqueria Insurgentes! The pulqueria is one of those special places that could only exist in D.F. — a huge no-attitude possibility-rich 5 story building specializing in underground sounds and pre-hispanic fermented maguey sap…

The pulqueria is in fiesta mode for the entire weekend. On Saturday March 21st myself and buddy Sonido Martines will be on deck to shake things up, and DJs for that Friday include the Kumbia Queers’ Ali Gua Gua and legendary Sonido La Changa. Who needs a SXSW?! Full lineup:

Pulqueria Insurgentes 5th anniversary lineup






moving wax Nixon(via lapham’s quarterly)

moving wax Nixon

(via lapham’s quarterly)


artcomesfirst: Cover : Art Comes First (Sam Lambert and…


Cover : Art Comes First (Sam Lambert and Shaka Maidoh)

Photographer :
Arseto Adiputra 

Story :
Ramzy Hasibuan and Anita Murti
Hair :
Show Fujimoto
Grooming :

@mensfolioid #mensfolioid #artcomesfirst #artiste


nitratediva: Gene Tierney in Leave Her to Heaven (1945).


Gene Tierney in Leave Her to Heaven (1945).


Bionic wearables

The bionic bra (via GeekPress):
'The easiest way to explain it is if you're sitting down, the bra is relaxed and comfortable, and it's not constraining you,’ she says. 'If you were suddenly to get up and run for a bus and your breasts are bouncing, the bra will sense that and tighten up to give you the support that you need.

‘Then when you're on the bus it realises you don't need that support anymore and just relaxes. So it's responding to women's physical needs.’

The bionic bar [sic] would improve on current sports bras, which offer a lot of support but tend to be tight and uncomfortable.

Radium Age: Context (37)

moto thumbMoto Phoso. Man, marionette, or automaton?

Strawberries and Cream

I discovered yesterday, three nested directories down in my math department account, that I still had a bunch of files from my last desktop Mac, which retired in about 2003. And among those files were backups from my college Mac Plus, and among those files were backups from 3 1/4″ discs I used on the family IBM PC in the late 1980s. Which is to say I have readable text files of almost every piece of writing I produced from age 15 through about 25.

Very weird to encounter my prior self so directly. And surprising that so much of it is familiar to me, line by line. I can see, now, who I liked to rip off: Raymond Carver, a lot. Donald Barthelme. There’s one poem where I’m pretty sure I was going for “mid-80s Laurie Anderson lyrics.” Like everyone else back then I was really into worrying about nuclear war. I produced two issues of a very mild-mannered underground newspaper called “Ground Zero” with a big mushroom cloud on the front, for the purpose of which my pseudonym was “Bogus Librarian.” (I really liked Bill and Ted’s. Still do, actually.) Anyway, there’s a nuclear war story in this batch, which ends like this: “And the white fire came, and he wept no more.” Who is “he”? The President, natch.

But actually what I came here to include is the first thing I really remember writing, which is a play, called “Strawberries and Cream.”  I wrote it for Harold White’s 9th grade English class.  The first time I met Mr. White he said “Who’s your favorite author?” and I said “I don’t know, I don’t think I had one,” and he said, “Well, that’s terrible, everyone should have a favorite author,” and I probably should have felt bullied but instead felt rather adult and taken seriously.

A central element of his English class was writing imitations of writers, one in each genre.  So I wrote an imitation John Cheever story, and I think an imitation Edna St. Vincent Millay poem (I can’t find this one, tragically.) But the thing Mr. White asked me to read that really sang to me was The Bald Soprano.  Was it that obvious, from the outside, that it was mid-century Continental absurdism I was lacking?  Or was it just a lucky guess?

Anyway:  below the fold, please enjoy “Strawberries and Cream,” the imitation Eugene Ionesco play I wrote when I was 15.


Strawberries and Cream

[Curtain opens. The set is a blank, featureless room, lit brightly.
In the back of the stage is a bare wooden door. Upstage right there is
a piano, but it will remain unlighted until it is used. In the front
left corner ANTHONY sits at a desk typing quietly. SANE AUTHOR and MAD
AUTHOR are playing poker in front stage.]

Mad Author : I have three of a kind. You?
Sane Author: I have many paper rectangular objects, marked with numbers
and symbols. Two of my numbers seem to be equal, that is
to say the same. Of course, they may not be at all. For
example, on is marked in red and one in black. The
asymmetry in colour gives a Nietzchean twist to the
Mad Author : One pair. [takes the pot and deals another hand]
I have two pair. You?
Sane Author: Five of a kind.
Mad Author : [examines SA’s cards] You have no five of a kind. All of
your cards are different.
Sane Author: Ah, but they are all cards.
Mad Author : Very true.
[SANE AUTHOR takes the pot]
[Door opens. Enter PRIEST. MAD AUTHOR hides cards.]
Priest : Bless you.
Mad Author : I haven’t sneezed.
Priest : But you will, quite soon, and then I shall not have to
bless you again.
Sane Author: Very good planning, Father. My friend here has always been
exceptional in the nasal impulse, as it were. Your
blessing is a marvelous Hegelian tribute to the power of
determinism in the human scene.
Priest : Thank you. [MA sneezes] There, see?
[SA pulls out a top and begins spinning it]
Mad Author : What are you doing?
Sane Author: I am exploring the philosophical realms of existence.
Mad Author : You are spinning a top.
Sane Author: But a very philosophical top it is.
[Door opens. Enter TOM,DICK, HARRY, and COLONEL. TOM, DICK and HARRY
are all dressed identically. COLONEL is in full uniform and carrying
two colored flags.]
Mad Author : Ah, hello, Tom.
Sane Author: Ah, hello, Dick.
Tom : Hello, Mr. Jones. And how are you?
Priest : Ah, hello, Harry.
Dick : Hello, Mr. Smith. And how are you?
Mad Author : Fine, thank you, Tom.
Harry : Hello, Father, and how are you?
Sane Author: Fine, thank you, Dick.
Tom : Nice weather we’re having.
Priest : Fine, thank you, Harry.
Dick : Awful weather we’re having.
Mad Author : Oh yes, quite.
Harry : They can’t seem to decide whether we’re having-
Sane Author: Oh yes, quite.
Priest : Nice or awful?
Harry : Oh yes, quite.
MA,SA, and Priest : I say, who is your quiet friend?
[COLONEL signals with flags]
Tom : Oh, that’s the Colonel.
Dick : He’s quite blind, you know.
Harry : So he has to speak in Singapore.
Tom,Dick,and Harry: I say, who is your quiet friend?
[ANTHONY types louder for a moment]
Mad Author : Oh, that’s Anthony.
Sane Author: He’s writing a play, you know.
Priest : So he has to type all day.
Tom : What is the name of this play?
Sane Author: It’s called “Strawberries and Cream”.
Tom : Strawberries and cream? Why?
Sane Author: Apparently, a character uses that phrase as a refrain
throughout the play.
Tom : I see.
Priest : Strawberries and cream!
Tom : And may I ask what is this play about?
Sane Author: You may.
Priest : Strawberries and cream! Strawberries and cream!
Tom : What is it about, then?
Priest : Strawberries and cream! Strawberries and cream!
Strawberries and cream!
Harry : Do stop; it’s unbecoming to a man of the cloth.
Sane Author: I’m glad you asked. This play is a masterpiece, a marvel
of nihilistic anti-existentialism. It exposes the
underlying Joycean motivations in the fabric of society.
You DO, I trust, prefer the teachings of Kant in
neo-classicism to the Freudian gedankensystem of Sartre?
Tom : Quite.
Dick : Mr. Smith, are you a philosopher?
Sane Author: No, a carpenter. By hobby, that is. By profession, I’m an
Dick : Oh? What sort?
Sane Author: A sane author. My friend Jones [points at MA] is a mad
author, though.
Harry : Are you sure he’s mad?
Sane Author: Quite sure.
Mad Author : I heard that!
Sane Author: Of course you did, you’re not deaf like the Colonel here.
Priest : I thought they said he was paralyzed.
Sane Author: Never mind.
Tom : How do you know he’s mad?
Sane Author: Ask him and see.
Tom : Mr. Jones, are you mad?
Mad Author : No, not at all.
Tom(to SA) : He says he’s not mad.
Sane Author: Naturally. The mad always insist that they are sane.
Mad Author : But you said YOU were sane!
Sane Author: I did.
Mad Author : So you are mad as well!
Sane Author: No, for the sane also insist that they are sane.
Mad Author : Then how do you know I’m mad?
Sane Author: Just look at you!
[All stare at MAD AUTHOR]
Mad Author : Alright, believe what you will. I still say I’m sane.
Sane Author: You would.
[Door opens. Enter MUSICIAN]
All else : Ah, hello, Musician,. Fine, thank you, Musician. Oh yes,
Musician : Hello, all. And how are you? Awfully nice weather we’re
Priest : Strawberries and cream! Strawberries and cream!
Musician : Oh yes, that reminds me..
Mad Author : What?
Musician : Now I’ve forgotten. Deja vu, as the French say.
Tom : Memory is such a fickle thing.
Musician : Exactly so. In fact, I’ve written a song about it.
Sane Author: Let us hear, let us hear!
Musician : Certainly. Bring me my imaginary piano.
[MAD AUTHOR wheels out imaginary piano, wiping brow as if with great
Tom : (whispers to SA) But that is a real piano!
Sane Author: He thinks it is imaginary. Humor him.
[MUSICIAN begins to “play”, hitting the note G-sharp over and over.]
Musician : I call this song “Bananas and Cream”.
Dick : Might “Peaches” not substitute well for “Bananas”?
Harry : Or “Blueberries”?
Musician : (ignoring them, sings tunelessly in a different key)
I remember apples,
And oranges,
And grapefruit,
And melons,
And mangoes,
But O the cream!
[All applaud loudly]
Sane Author: That perfectly captured the quintessential essential
essence of the matter.
Mad Author : How true!
Priest : How true!
Tom : How true!
Dick : How true!
Harry : How true!
[COLONEL waves flags]
Dick : He says.. “How true!”
Tom : A shame.. He was such a great speaker before he went mad.
Mad Author : How true!
Musician : Ah, now I remember. I know you’ll all find this quite
Mad Author : Do tell!
Musician : It was.. No, I’ve forgotten again.
Priest : Strawberries and cream!
Tom : Why do you keep repeating that cryptic phrase?
Priest : What else should I be doing?
Tom : Well, what are priests supposed to do?
Priest : Er…
Sane Author: He is waiting for the Messiah to come!
Priest : (relieved) Yes, that’s just it.
Tom : How do you know that the Messiah is coming?
Priest : Eh.. I’m sure Mr.Smith can explain it best.
Sane Author: Certainly. You admit that our Saviour has gone?
Tom : Oh yes, quite.
Sane Author: Then he must come. It is as simple as what goes down must
come up.
Harry : Ah… the discipline of logic! All men are mortal,
Socrates is a man..
Dick : Therefore, Socrates is a philosopher.
Sane Author: A carpenter, by hobby.
Musician : Cogito ergo sum, as the French say.
Sane Author: (pulls out large sheet of paper) Besides, he’s on the
guest list.
[Door opens. Enter MESSIAH.]
Tom : Ah, there he is now.
Sane Author: He’s upset my top.
Messiah : So pleased to meet you all.
All else : Likewise, I’m sure.
Sane Author: Meow. Meow.
Tom : Why do you keep repeating that cryptic phrase?
Sane Author: I’ve decided that I am a cat.
Tom : How is that?
Priest : We thought you were an author.
Sane Author: Yes, yes, but a cat nonetheless. Examine the evidence. A
cat has four limbs, two eyes, two ears, a nose, and hair
on its head. And so have I! And a cat, of course, may look
upon a king.
Messiah : Or a Messiah.
Tom : Or even a Colonel.
Mad Author : You’ve got no tail.
Sane Author: I’m a Manx cat, then.
Harry : Just so.
Sane Author: Meow.
Musician : Oh, yes, now I remember.
[During this exchange, the COLONEL walks over to the real piano.]
Messiah : Oh, good. I was hoping I hadn’t missed it.
Musician : No, that wasn’t it.
Dick : Oh, dear.
Musician : Memory is such a fickle thing. I’ve written a song about
it, you know.
Mad Author : We know.
Musician : I call it “Peaches and Cream”.
Dick : Might “Bananas” not substitute well for “Peaches”?
Musician : Perhaps.
[COLONEL begins to play beautiful, difficult piece in a minor key.]
Tom : There goes the Colonel on his imaginary piano.
Musician : It looks quite real to me.
Harry : He was a very good pianist before he died.
Musician : It’s right on the tip of my tongue.
Mad Author : Is it?
Musician : It is. It’s quite important, I think. I can’t seem to
Sane Author: I know how it is.
Musician : That’s life, as the French say.
Priest : Strawberries and cream!
Messiah : Strawberries and cream!
Sane Author: Strawberries and cream!
All chant : Strawberries and cream! Strawberries and cream!
Strawberries and cream! Strawberries and cream!
[The chant continues, growing softer and softer. No one moves.
ANTHONY’s typing grows louder. The lighting gains a red tint.]
Musician : I remember now! I have it!
[Anthony, with a flourish, stops typing and tears out the last sheet
with a flourish. He hands it to the Musician.]
Musician : (reads) Curtain closes.
[Curtain closes.]


A boy’s first casserole

CJ had a vision for dinner. I don’t know where he came up with this. But he said he wanted mashed potatoes with green beans and chopped up hardboiled eggs. OK I said but you know what it needs, some Penzey’s toasted onions and we can put some chunks of gruyere in there and it’ll melt. In the end I was suspicious of the hardboiled eggs so we had them on the side. The final product was something I think could easily be sold in the grocery store hot case at $8.99 a pound. I know this looks kind of like barf, but it works. (See also: the Israeli electoral system.)


Two bits

Charlie Stross and Lavie Tidhar on the late great Terry Pratchett.

(My favorite books of his are the Death books in the Discworld sequence and the Tiffany Aching books, but really you can't go wrong.)

Birds bearing gifts

Shiny things! (Via B.)


Rock-climbing cats (via Jane); unwarranted pouncing (ditto).

Two teas in London

This, this.

Madonna Songs

Nico on Madonna:
I am similarly frustrated and yet moved by Madonna’s resistance to giving us any real personal details. Many of the songs here are generically, rather than specifically, intimate. I am actually quite interested to know the ugly practicalities of Madonna’s life: where is her actual dwelling-place? What happens in the morning, before the many punishing hours of Ashtanga yoga? She has four kids: what’s that like? When she says, “Each time they take the photograph/I lose a part I can’t get back,” doesn’t it feel like it’s missing one crucial or personal detail? When Kanye says, manically, “I’ll move my family out the country so you can’t see where I stay,” we can picture the move; we see the family packing clothes — Spanx and faux-fur shrugs folded into convenient shapes — and thinking about nannies and schools. When Michael and Janet made “Scream,” didn’t you find yourself envisaging the horrors of Michael, alone in that huge house, amidst all those allegations, the giraffes quietly and deferentially nibbling on acacia outside their master’s window? And perhaps more relevantly, the heart-shattering detail Joni Mitchell gives us when she says, “The bed’s too big/The frying pan’s too wide” — we picture that precise old frying pan, its greasy patina informed by various fried Canadian delicacies, and shimmering with remembered arguments and intimacies with her lover?

Little house

At the NYRB blog, April Bernard on Laura Ingalls Wilder.

fairy-wren: Blue-Eared Kingfisher


Blue-Eared Kingfisher


“The Unicode Consortium has launched a very controversial project known as Han Unification: an…”

The Unicode Consortium has launched a very controversial project known as Han Unification: an attempt to create a limited set of characters that will be shared by these so-called “CJK languages.” Instead of recognizing these languages as having their own writing systems that share some common ancestry, the Han unification process views them as mere variations on some “true” form.

To help English readers understand the absurdity of this premise, consider that the Latin alphabet (used by English) and the Cyrillic alphabet (used by Russian) are both derived from Greek. No native English speaker would ever think to try “Greco Unification” and consolidate the English, Russian, German, Swedish, Greek, and other European languages’ alphabets into a single alphabet. Even though many of the letters look similar to Latin characters used in English, nobody would try to use them interchangeably. ҭЋаt ωoulδ βε σutragєѳuѕ.

Even though our language is exempt from this effort, Han unification is particularly troubling for Bengali speakers to hear about. The rhetoric is a blast from our own colonial past, when the British referred to Indian languages pejoratively as “dialects”.

- I Can Text You A Pile of Poo, But I Can’t Write My Name by Aditya Mukerjee | Model View Culture

itscolossal: Photographers Create Meticulously Faithful…


Photographers Create Meticulously Faithful Dioramas of Iconic Photos




Tinder Users at SXSW Are Falling for This Woman, but She’s…

Tinder Users at SXSW Are Falling for This Woman, but She’s Not What She Appears | Adweek

Tinder users at the SXSW festival on Saturday were encountering an attractive 25-year-old woman named Ava on the dating app. A friend of ours made a match with her, and soon they were have a conversation over text message. But when he opened up Ava’s Instagram, it became clear something was amiss. There was one photo and one video, both promoting Ex Machina, a sci-fi film that just happened to be premiering Saturday night here in Austin. The link in her bio went to the film’s website. And it turns out the woman in the photos is Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, who plays an artificial intelligence in the movie.

Foreign Ferns, cyanotype by Anna Atkins [photo via The…

Foreign Ferns, cyanotype by Anna Atkins [photo via The Telegraph]


thingsmagazine:1957 Ford Styling brochure, via X-Ray Delta One


1957 Ford Styling brochure, via X-Ray Delta One


colorfulcircles: colorful circle – 6459


colorful circle - 6459


Nike FuelBand: One Big Security Hole For Your LifeWe were…

Nike FuelBand: One Big Security Hole For Your Life

We were discussing the product with a source directly connected to Nike and he told us an amusing, albeit startling anecdote about a guy who got caught cheating on his girlfriend because of the Nike+ FuelBand. “They shared their activity between each other and she noticed he was active at 1-2AM, when he was supposed to be home,” our source told us.

William Gibson

Neuromancer_(Book)Pattern-recognition, or divination?

nitratediva:Billie Dove in Lois Weber’s The Sensation Seekers…


Billie Dove in Lois Weber’s The Sensation Seekers (1927).


A week of technology instruction

Ian's pollinator talk.

So since I left MetaFilter almost a year ago, my goal was to spend more time “librarianing” I have a part time job with the Internet Archive running Open Library. I write for The Message a Medium publication, sometimes about librarianship and sometimes not. I write monthly for Computers in Libraries. I do my local technology instruction through the Adult Education program at the local vocational high school. In the past I’ve also done a lot of “How I do it” talks on the road at library conferences. I have not been doing that this month. Instead, I’ve been picking up more local tech instruction work, some paid and some unpaid. It’s been a fun busy week here and I thought I’d outline a few things I’ve done that people might be interested in.

  1. I taught an iPad class in a “pop up” university in the local town. Some local folks started Bethel University a local skillshare program. I offered an iPad class. People could read the list of classes via a home made WordPress setup and RSVP via EventBrite. I had ten students, most new-ish to the world of iPads and we talked about a lot of iPad features, did some exercises together and I answered a lot of questions. Fun. Free for everyone. I donated my time. I got photocopies for free. The class was held in the library which donated the space. Win. Win. Win.

  2. I taught the last class of my college credit class on integrating technology for teachers at the vocational high school. Through a collaboration with a state university, teachers could take a one-credit continuing education class with me learning how to use the Google Suite of tools for education. We wrapped up with class presentations (ten minute slide presentations demonstrating some of the things we’d learned, Ian discusses pollinators above) and it was a joy to see how much people had learned and seeing them applying it to their own classrooms. I learned a lot and this gig also paid via grant money given to RTCC for teacher continuing education, coordinated through the adult education department.
  3. Drop-in time had a bunch of new computer users who were at the “How do I turn it on?” phase of technology learning. There were a lot of people at drop-in time last week, so I grouped them together and got a few of them started with Google and a few basic commands: back, reload, scroll, click. Every so often when I was helping someone else, I’d hear peals of laughter from that part of the room as they took delight in things I’ve become jaded to such as custom 404 pages.

I also finished a Computers in Libraries article today about data collection and was pleased to see one of my local colleague, Amber Billey a metadata librarian at UVM, get listed as one of Seven Days’ Seven Vermont Women to Watch. If there’s a meta-story to this post it’s that staying local and working on the digital divide in your own backyard has been, for me, as satisfying as being on the road. And a little more calm.


Gull photo: Kim Abel, via

Gull photo: Kim Abel, via


mangocianamarch:happy Ides of March all y’all plebeiansREMIND ME…


happy Ides of March all y’all plebeians



“Clean Reader – “the only e-reader that gives you the power to hide swear words” – sells more than a…”

“Clean Reader – “the only e-reader that gives you the power to hide swear words” – sells more than a million ebooks from its online book store. Its app allows users to search the text, and “put a non-transparent ‘highlight’” over anything potentially offensive. The blanked-out word is replaced, when it is tapped, with one judged suitably safe. So in a passage from its online demonstration – “‘Don’t tempt me, you little bastard,’ growled Vyder” – bastard becomes jerk. In a slice of a David Baldacci novel, “Pick up your damn game, Bobby”, becomes “Pick up your darn game, Bobby”.”

- Books without swearwords? There’s an app for that | Books | The Guardian

healeroflepers:fela kuti’s wives  *heart eyes emoji*


fela kuti’s wives  *heart eyes emoji*


BBC NEWS | England | London | Sly children fool exercise studyChildren taking part in a study to…

BBC NEWS | England | London | Sly children fool exercise study

Children taking part in a study to measure how much exercise they do fooled researchers by attaching their pedometers to their pet dogs.
About 200 children in east London were given pedometers to automatically count how many steps they walked and ran.
Mile End Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine was surprised by the activity levels recorded in some obese children.
Professor Nicola Maffulli said: “Then we realised they were attaching the pedometers to their dogs’ collars.”
The pilot study in Whitechapel required 11 and 12-year-olds to clip a pedometer to their waists, with researchers at the centre collecting the readings by satellite.

Noted scam artist and “Facebook fugitive” Paul…

Noted scam artist and “Facebook fugitive” Paul Ceglia, hoping to escape from a recently imposed state of house-arrest, “sliced off his GPS ankle monitor and affixed it to a crudely built contraption in his rural New York residence,” Ars Technica reports. […] The “contraption” appears to have been almost laughably basic, but it’s not hard to imagine something far more ambitious, complete with tracks wandering from room to room and truly making it appear that someone is inside the residence.
BLDGBLOG: Ghosts of Home Geography

Code-X (54)

issey miyakeBlack Monolith

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