The voice of Aiwass came upon me as I about to fall asleep. It finds out about me when I’m either in the mood of exalted hope or dread. “The voice was of deep timbre, musical and expressive. It tones solemn, voluptuous, tender, fierce or aught else as suited the moods of the message.” He, and it is for sure a male, speaks in English and very clearly, without an accent that can pinpoint where the voice came from. The voice seems to come from the corner of my bedroom, but clearly he’s not there or here, but alas, in my heart and soul. I imagine Aiwass as an “angel,” but one, who looks over me. He recites me tales that I write down, and therefore I become known as Clark Savage, Jr.
I was raised since birth by my father (perhaps Aiwass) and other scientists to become the most shinning example of a human being with respect to physical strength, intelligence, and physical fighting skills. In other words, a perfect human being. I’m a physician, surgeon, scientist, adventurer, inventor, explorer, researcher, and a poet.
Needing a headquarters I set up a lab and living area on the 86th floor, at the Empire State Building in New York City. No one can be a living fort by itself, so therefore I have five assistants:
- Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Blodgett “Monk” Mayfair, an industrial chemist.
- Brigadier General Theodore Marley “Ham” Brooks, an accomplished attorney.
-Colonel John “Renny” Renwick, a construction engineer.
-Major Thomas J. “Long Tom” Roberts, an electrical engineer
-William Harper “Johnny” Littlejohn, an archaeologist and geologist.
I watch over conditions in Palestine, Guantanamo Bay, and elsewhere where evil is being done, in the name of “good.” In a world of shadows, I hear Aiwass, and he tells me wise ways. It angers me that my fellow citizens think Aiwass as a subjective presence in my life, when in fact he’s quite objective in his manner in communicating with me. My assistants and I stand ready to battle the wrong and turn it into a right. Let me make this pledge to you:
“Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, that all may profit by it. Let me think of the right and lend all my assistance to those who need it, with no regard for anything but justice. Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage. Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens and my associates in everything I say and do. Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.”
With my headquarters on the 86th floor, I have a private high-speed elevator that leads to my fleet of cars, trucks, aircraft, and boats. I will use all my strength and wisdom in bringing justice to a world that laughs at common decency. “In the absence of willpower the most complete collection of virtues and talents is wholly worthless.” I have the will to do what I have to do. As for faith, “I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning.” Or in other words, “I have never grown out of the infantile belief that the universe was made for me to suck.”
So my assistants and I go in my limousine, and play “New Rose” by the Damned and I try to see the world as a reflection of my soul, which I share with Aiwass. There goes the night…
One delightful but painful side effect of working on this talk has been that I am now absolutely consumed with the desire to spend some months sitting in rare book libraries with amazing tomes before me: I do have a sabbatical coming up, not next year but the following one (i.e. 2016-17), with the only problem being that I have two competing projects that I am equally excited about, The ten-week Clarissa and the new one for which I have just now created a folder on the hard drive titled "Ancients and moderns"!
So, Paddy Bullard, “What Swift did in libraries,” in Jonathan Swift and the Eighteenth-Century Book, ed. Bullard and James McLaverty (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 65-84 (the quotation is on 72):
[I]t is clear that Swift was an unusually active reader. This activity often involved a kind of conversation with the text written upon the printed page. The tone of that conversation was often indignant or otherwise aggressive--the anti-Scottish invective of his notes on Clarendon ('Cursed hellish Scots!'--'Greedy Scotch rebellious dogs'--'Diabolical Scots forever', etc.) is not untypically virulent.Also: "The regularity of Swift's anti-monarchical marginalia across several volumes gives it a ritual quality, as though he were leafing through his books looking for opportunities to perform it. . . . It seems that Swift found in the pages of his personal library a textual site just secure enough to bear anti-monarchical inscriptions that were too dangerous for him to make in any other kind of papers, either published or private" (74).
What does an educated owl say?
Guy Isnard, one of the first police officials to specialize in art forgeries, curating an exhibition of fakes at the Grand Palais, Paris, 1955.
Photo by Robert Cohen (via)
A cosmic wedding suite inspired by colourful nebulas and astronomy diagrams.
Watercolour and digital
by illustrator Caitlin Russell
October 11, 2014
I’m 60 and I’m fat. How is it that such a beautiful boy like me, turns into an old fat man? It seems like life’s revenge at the very least, and yet, what have I done in life, except show it love and respect. And in return I get a puffy body. Of course I could have exercised more with weights and avoided certain foods, but at the time, it didn’t seem reasonable. When someone puts a cake with whip cream in front of you, wouldn’t it be bad manners not to eat the cake? I barely left the plate on the dinning table, and if that was eatable I would have to digest that object in no time.
The worst is when people who I have known for a long time, look at me now, I can see the disappointment in their eyes. When I look at images of Gérard Depardieu, and see how obscenely heavy he’s now, I think “Oh my.” Now I can see people thinking the same thing with me. What’s even more embarrassing to me is when I see old girlfriends now, who are as stunning as ever. I knew they went out with me because when I was younger, I was quite handsome, but now, I can see them being disgusted and even ashamed of their old passion for me.
Since my physical side is falling apart I really need to take care of my brain more. As most of you know, I write every day under stressful conditions. If I finish my daily writing for that day, then I feel I have completed something and I can go on with my (so-called) life. “I’m fat, but I’m thin inside… there’s a thin man inside every fat man.” I need to focus on my inner-well being. I often walk in the public streets, both here in Tokyo and Los Angeles, and I noticed my reflection from boutique windows and think "oh wow have I changed." The funny thing is that I remember the moment I got fat. I know one doesn’t get fat overnight, but that self-awareness happened to me about a month or so ago. At first, I observed the friends who glance at my stomach and then quickly look away. I just have to tell you it’s a terrible moment. I don’t think I can ever be skinny again. Those days are gone. But lf I develop a bigger character to fit my bigger body, well, that would be ideal. As Jack said: “With my sunglasses on, I’m Jack Nicholson. Without them, I’m fat and 60.
It is at that time I really got into Orson Welles. I have decided to become a fan of his later works, you know... when he was fat. I wonder how he felt about himself as he gained weight. He is likewise a fave of mine because he started at the top and worked his way down. As he further went down, the fatter he got. It is like each failure added inches to his waist. As I struggle with my work, I become super conscious of my gaining weight, and I ask where it will end. As Orson has commented: “When you are down and out something always turns up - and it is usually the noses of your friends. ”
As age and weight take over me, I try to flow like a rapid river, but to be honest I feel like a water trapped in a damn. Sitting there and breeding mosquitos by the millions, and not being able to move. Just sit and rot. That’s fat for you.
An editorial illustration inspired by this National Post article, a book review for The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright’s Universe, which proposes that the bard was a heliocentrist, and that Hamlet is an allegory for the Scientific Revolution, representing ”the true nature of the universe — the heliocentric model proposed by Copernicus.”
A comedy club in Barcelona is charging patrons per laugh. This is real, according to the BBC. The Teatreneu club, in partnership with ad agency The Cyranos McCann, has installed tablets on the back of each seat equipped with facial recognition software that can apparently detect when you laugh. The going rate is 0.30 Euros ($0.38) per laugh, up to a maximum of 24 Euros ($30.45). In other words, buy 80 laughs and the rest are free.Via Alex E.
October 10, 2014
The one artist (besides myself of course) that I admire is Ed Wood Jr. I admire him because he shouldn’t be by all accounts exist on this planet, yet he kept his head down and kept going. They treated him like shit, and even though he had to rely on the food that was thrown away by the Hollywood industry, he kept going, like an insect or to be more precise a cockroach. Like Wood, I had to swallow a lot of shit from people who just took pleasure in shitting in my mouth. I know the taste, and I have the taste of Ed Wood in my mouth. There are people like Thelonious Monk, who just wanted to do their art in peace. Yet was thrown against the wall, and told that they were insane, or just to go away. Of course, there were cops with a blackjack that wanted the taste of Monk’s blood on their hands. A human being with a vision never gives up. I, on the other hand always give up.
“Surrender” should be my middle-name. Not everyone is blessed to have a Pannonica to watch your back. A true fan, she took care of both Charlie Parker and Thelonious in their moments of sickness and joyous. If we’re lucky, and most are not, we have a version of Pannonica in our lives. I do, and she allows a space to be had, where I can roam without a passport or a care in the world. But of course, that is an illusion. When I go into a movie theater to see a film by Ed Wood, for instance “The Sinister Urge, ” I am reminded here is an artist that was barely holding on to respectability. He was a the bottom of the trash heap, and after this film it would be one would call” a blur of smut racket nudie flicks, soft core porn, and it ends with x-rated novels and films.” Alas, an artist that flew too close to the sun, and therefore his wings burned off, and he crashed into the earth. One then wonders if he was an artist? Perhaps he dwells into a world of his making but not by choice. You go to the world with materials that are on hand, and with that tool and substance you hope to make something great. It’s a giant leap into faith that somehow it will turn out OK. Wood wasn’t afraid, like I am. He took numerous risks in a world that was hostile toward him.
Thelonious was a different type of character. He knew he was placed on the right wave length, and overall, I don’t think he cared what others think or thought of him. “I say, play your own way. Don’t play what the public wants. You play what you want and let the public pick up on what you’re doing - even if it does take them fifteen, twenty years.” Wood needed acceptance in a large market place. Monk basically lived totally through instinct. He had no plan, because he loved the moment when it happened, and didn’t look back when it passed by. I’m not only moved by his music, but also his dress-sense, his style and the way he danced around his piano during performances. And it was a performance, because the audience is watching a moment as it happens. It can’t be controlled or contained. It just happens. Wood is all about craft and lousy advice. In his book “Hollywood Rat Race”, he advises new writers to “just keep on writing. Even if your story gets worse, you’ll get better.” Now, that depends on how one defines “worse” and “better.” But then again, Wood had commented: “What do you know? You heard of suspension of disbelief? ”
The distinguished citizen of Hackney, Harold Pinter, once wrote “I can’t really articulate what I feel.” Yet, of course he does, because that is exactly what writing is - to swim around articulation, and hopefully some tragic mistake will come out of it. It is just like squeezing the wound and watching the puss come out. It’s disgusting, but also somewhat pleasing at the same time. Articulation is the key or the entrance of the artist’s soul, and with that in mind, that is what will make me successful or a failure. And lately I have been on a tightrope with slippery soles.
more like hanging around: Earth, glitched by GOES-15, October 2014.
GOES-15, a geostationary weather satellite over the Pacific, takes a photograph of the Earth every 3 hours. On the 2nd of October, images from the 2100 UTC timeslot (local noon at the satellite’s longitude) began to glitch out; GOES-15 would produce several incomplete images, timestamped e.g. 2101, 2104, 2107, or no image at all. At least one image appears to be timestamped with an impossible time: 2701, on the 9th October. Images taken at other times seem to be unaffected.
This gif shows 25 of the glitched images, 2nd-10th October.
Image credit: NOAA/NASA. Animation: AgeOfDestruction. Title: Aimee Mann.
I keep seeing my art buds’ Inktober posts, and I want in on that inky action.
Sad, Jack in Lowell saw the phantom most—
lonelier than all, except your noble Self.
Sir Spirit, an’ I drift alone: Oh deep sigh.
—Allen Ginsberg, from “Elegy for Neal Cassidy.”
just taking the snakes out on a stroll. #urbansafari
Roger Ebert, the Pulitzer Prize winning film critic, was a likely – but never confirmed – Wikipedia editor, under the name Rebert. These edits are now collected in a hardcover, not for sale edition.
Rebert’s edits are often short, entertaining reviews, on Gotham City or John Prine, over time they were edited into Wikipedia’s dry style or reverted completely. Most cite Ebert texts as sources, and though the practice of citing yourself was overlooked in 2004 when Rebert started out, by 2009 his last edit was given a tag, ‘possible conflict of interest’. Rebert’s user page now carries a note, ‘this is the user talk page of an editor who has died. This page is preserved as a memorial,’ and then, finally, the catchphrase from Ebert’s TV show, ‘See you at the movies!’
Roger Ebert was a fan of Wikipedia. Searching through his film reviews you can find ‘Thanks to Wikipedia,’ ‘Wikipedia splendidly explains,’ ‘My pals at Wikipedia filled in some of the blanks for me’. In 2008, Rebert’s most active year of editing, Ebert posted an interview with Bill Clinton, and listed himself under ‘distribution,’ along with his distributors and their contacts, as ‘Roger Ebert REBERT.’ There are many signs that these are Ebert’s edits, though it was never fully confirmed by Ebert, who died in 2013. Now he’s gone it may remain a mystery.
Roger Ebert, The Collected Wikipedia Edits is published by Quenton Miller, an artist and writer. The book is not for sale, though technically all text on Wikipedia is publishable for profit.
October 9, 2014
I lost to Patrick. Modiano. A totally obscure French author who had a book in print in the U.S., but now appears to be out-of-print. I, on the other hand, have two books in print, and yet, I was unable to obtain the Nobel Prize for Literature. Clearly there is no God. On the brighter side, at least I didn’t lose to Murakami. So maybe there is a God.
In the last eight hours, I have learned a good lesson. Never budget yourself in the slim hope of winning a prize. I can clearly use the $1,100,000 winnings as well as the award’s reputation, but alas, perhaps I’m fated to be in the shadows of the literary world. And is that a bad place? I used to think that I just wanted to be popular and loved by everyone, but then I had to remind myself that I can’t stand most people. So why would I want to be loved by people by people I wouldn’t spit on, due that it’s not worthy of the procedure.
Right now, due to my sole and obsessive focus on writing, I pretty much ignored the financial world. There is not a change in hell or heaven for me to get monetary award for my work. Looking forward to the future, there is…none. At least till December 31, when I will finish my writing project. After that, I don’t think I can survive in this world. I may have to sell my collection of rare Jacques Tati 35mm prints as well as my original editions of France Gall recordings, but alas, it is just objects, and the only object I need now is food and drink. I was hoping to win the Nobel, if for nothing else, give me time to focus on the writing till I die of old age. But now, that possibility seems so distant, it is like watching the ocean and looking at its vanishing point. There is nothing ahead of me, and I need to be honest that this is it, and “it” is not going to be that hot. In fact, it’s going to be a disaster.
It’s ironic that Modiano’s work deals with the subject matter of ‘identity.' My work is pretty much in that category as well, in fact, I think most 19th and 20th century literature is about the loss of identity, but ironically I don’t really have one, unless I write. Once the writing stops at the end of this year, I will be adrift in an ocean of my own making - and it will be on a leaky boat, just focusing on keeping the vessel as dry as possible. Like a Lee Wiley recording, I’m leaving the sophisticated world of the pen and paper, and will float to neither here nor there.
I want to congratulate M. Modiano on him getting the award, and surely he deserves it. From time-to-time I do feel that the $1,100,000 was nabbed away from my hand, but I have to get over it. I have to get over a lot of things. “Get over it man.”
Aminata, School exam work, Gaye Njorro School of Hairdressing and Beauty Cosmetology, the Gambia. Photo Valeria Herklotz.
Since 2011, billions of dollars of venture capital investment have poured into public education through private, for-profit technologies that promise to revolutionize education. Designed for the “21st century” classroom, these tools promise to remedy the many, many societal ills facing public education with artificial intelligence, machine learning, data mining, and other technological advancements.
They are also being used to track and record every move students make in the classroom, grooming students for a lifetime of surveillance and turning education into one of the most data-intensive industries on the face of the earth. The NSA has nothing on the monitoring tools that education technologists have developed in to “personalize” and “adapt” learning for students in public school districts across the United States.”
- Grooming Students for A Lifetime of Surveillance by Jessy Irwin | Model View Culture
The protesters are dependent on mobile apps to coordinate their huge, seemingly unstoppable uprising, and someone — maybe the Politburo, maybe a contractor — has released virulent Ios and Android malware into their cohort, and the pathogens are blazing through their electronic ecosystem.
During the gloomy falls and winters we all need something to color and light up our lives. The Japanese devoted a whole botanical garden for that purpose, and transformed it into a 7 million LED light winter illumination.
|Photograph by Stephen Shore|
October 8, 2014
While wandering around Aoyama Book Center near Omotesando, I came upon a book of photographs by Stephen Shore. Mostly they were detailed images of various landscapes in America, but what I found interesting are the interior images of hotel and motel rooms. America seems to have the ability to express itself in these interiors - no matter how exotic or homey they look, it always spells out “America” to me. Not that I miss my home country, but I decided to use one of Shore’s images as an inspiration to re-do my tatami mat room in Meguro.
Researching his work, I found a quotation by him that I like a lot. This is exactly what I read: “I discovered that this camera was the technical means in photography of communicating what the world looks like in a state of heightened awareness. And it’s that awareness of really looking at the everyday world with clear and focused attention that I’m interested in.”
I too have an interest in my own sense of heightened awareness. In fact, I had to do away with the mirrors that cover my wall space, because it was too much of awareness. Using the photograph, I went to Karf on Meguro Dori to make me the exact bed that is in the Shore picture. The measurement had to be perfect because the room is very small. So basically the bed fits the entire room. In other words, I can’t walk around or behind the bed. The bed is the room. Which is also a very seductive if I bring a girl back home. No where else to go except on the bed!
Also I found a painter in Meguro who could copy the image off the photograph of the tree limb. Every room needs a sense of nature, even if it’s fake. The only question is where will I keep my clothes and records? I decided to put my belongings in the toilet area, and just leave enough room to reach the instrument of need, and to be in a position to sit down, but I can’t stretch my legs out. Luckily I have a portable turntable, and the only music I have in Tokyo is a bunch of recordings of Toru Takemitsu’s music.
Now I can lay in my bed and look at the tree limb and think of my own awareness while listening to Takemitsu’s music. What I find aesthetically pleasing is the white backboard of the bed, and how it matches the wall. It was tricky getting wood paneling in Japan, but I found wall paper in Tokyu Hands that resembles the paneling - so even though that is fake as the tree limb, I felt close to nature as well as my version, or I should say Stephen Shore’s version or vision of America.
As Tekemitsu commented, “...by admitting a new perception of space and giving it an active sense, is it not possible to discover a new unexpected, unexplored world?” I say yeah. This is so true!
1. I’m working in a new space, in my old neighborhood which I haven’t had much occasion to frequent in the decade-plus since I’ve lived there. So the commute puts me in a weird mental state: focused simultaneously on the future and the past.
2. Which I guess is also a thing that happens when seasons change.
3. I got a 2015 calendar from NeuYear.net and am both comforted and aghast by how much is already on it.
4. Took this photo last week at the Oak Harbor Library. I like to think the possum is squinting to see what the owl is reading.
5. If you’re in Columbus, Ohio, next week you can go to several comics workshops; some taught by Gene Yang, some by me!
NBA 2K15 was released stateside today and the wildly popular basketball series already has fans in a spin. Reviews have been massively positive so far but gamers have been experiencing a bit of an issue with one feature in particular: the face scan. Like never before, the game is promising to put you in the thick of the action, with the next-gen technology promising to lift your face into the ever-popular MyCareer mode for an even more realistic experience. But early results have been… mixed.
October 7, 2014
I’m nervous. I have read that the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced on Thursday October 9 at 1PM (CET). I feel my whole life has reached this point, and either I win the prize or I don’t. “If I die, I die.” The moment is almost here, and I have so many thoughts in my head. For one, some writers just write for themselves. Others, if they’re lucky get paid for the words that appear on a page, but for me, the only reason I do write is the thought of getting the Nobel Prize.
My entire life has been one type of failure after another. It’s too sad to list them all here, but I feel that the world doesn’t give a damn about me. I noticed my friends on Facebook have been dwelling in lower numbers, like they’re tired of me. Also my blog has been getting less attention as well. It is a slow death of sorts, where even when I’m in exile in Tokyo, I find myself only looking at my reflection in numerous store windows. I tend to have my meals in fast food restaurants near train stations - for instance I’m quite fond of eating places around Meguro Station. My lack of Japanese is perfectly suitable that I can just point in the menu and nod my head. Restaurants that have fully illustrated menus tend to be a tad cheaper than the ones who don’t have pictures on their menus. So being idiotic and kind of stupid regarding my lack of language skills is actually financially helpful here. Nevertheless I spent a great deal of time reading about the gossip and rumors that are surrounding this year’s Nobel Prize for literature.
Haruki Murakami has been pointed out again and again that he is likely to be the winner this year. If this happens, I don’t know what I will do. It is like I spent my entire life, 60 years, working towards a goal, and then having that snatched away by a second-rate writer… well, it’s unthinkable.
Some years ago, when I was in my room working on my life-long memoir “My Struggle” (which title has been stolen by a Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgård, and is now an international bestseller) I had nothing but dreams of excepting the Nobel. In fact, every year for the past 35 years, I have written an acceptance speech. I have fifteen notebooks, all written by hand, the acceptance speech that may not actually happen. I was just so depressed during this time, that I actually suffered from nervous disorders of all sorts. The worst thing that happened to me was that I went to a showing of “Taxi Driver” and refused to leave the theater till they show it again. That day I sat through four showings. Finally the police came and they physically removed me from the theater. It was at that time, I realized that I needed some professional help.
Through connections within my family, I imagined to have a meeting with the famous psychiatrist R. D. Laing. He examined me throughly and asked numerous questions. He made a peculiar statement to me: “Life is a sexually transmitted disease and the mortality rate is one hundred percent.” I didn’t know how to respond to that comment, so I told him what was illing me. I told him that I write, and I only write, so I can win the Nobel Prize. Without that prize, I’m nothing. A waste of space in an overcrowded world. But, and it’s a big BUT - if I can somehow win this prize, then my life will have meaning - not only to me, but to others who know my name. As I talked, he wrote in a notebook. After I finished my rant, he got up from his chair, to look out the window. He then picked up his telephone and asked if I was hungry, I said no. He then asked whether it was OK for him to order some food. I said “sure.” I overheard him ordering a Scotch pie, which is usually a small double-crust meat pie filled with minced meat. It seems as though you can hold the pie with your hands while eating and therefore popular with people who work behind a desk.
He approached me and sat right on the left side of me. He spoke very quietly and told me that “insanity - a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.” Which of course means to me the chance that I won’t get the award. “There is a great deal of pain in life and perhaps the only pain that can be avoided is the pain that comes from trying to avoid pain.” All of a sudden there was a knock on the door, and it was one of his assistants, who delivered the Scotch pie. He thanks the assistant and came back and told me, while munching on his pie that “in a world full of danger, to be potentially seeable object is to be consistently exposed to danger. Self-consciousness, then, may be the applehensive awareness of oneself as potentially exposed to danger by the simple fact of being visible to others.” He took another bite and then went on. “The obvious defense against such a danger is to make oneself invisible in one way or another.” We both sat in silence and the only noise in the room was him eating the pie.
“You see Tosh, we are effectively destroying ourselves by violence masquerading as love.” Again, more silence, and then I asked him: “What do you think are the odds in me getting the Nobel Prize?” He then put his hand on my shoulder, and gently shook his head. “Time will tell Tosh.” I left his office with the feeling of depression as a winter coat over my shoulder. We all now wait for the conclusion that will be my sad, yet pathetic life.
According to his former lodger, the translator and playwright John Henry Jones, Empson was once forced to buy the London Library a new copy of Marlowe's Doctor Faustus: when he returned it they found it covered not only with his marginal notes but with the jam from his morning toast. When I cited this anecdote in a Times Literary Supplement review, Jones himself wrote in to elaborate on the nature of Empson's marginalia: "The work in question was W. W. Greg's parallel-text edition of Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, and the librarian . . . was hardly straining at a gnat in demanding a fresh copy--the book was virtually done to death in Empson's zeal to demolish Greg's argument in favour of the B-text, a process which . . . was maintained throughout all quotidian activities."