Chicago based Shawn Hazen began collecting vinyl records, just for the artwork, about 15 years ago and in 2012 started to document their typographic covers. Created as an inspiration for designers, Typophonic, explores type’s connotations and emotive power to express different music genres.
“Typophonic is a collection of typographically driven 12-inch record covers from the 1950s through the 1980s. Some of the sleeves are type-only and some use type as a key element of the design. They’re all unique and speak to what was special about this area of design that has often been the most dynamic and experimental outlet for graphic designers.”
Shawn Hazen lists his top ten Typophonic album covers here.
“Blogs and social media have allowed us to talk to ourselves (but not to reach out beyond the left…”
Blogs and social media have allowed us to talk to ourselves (but not to reach out beyond the left bubbles); they have also generated pathological behaviours and forms of subjectivity which not only generate misery and anger – they waste time and energy, our most crucial resources. Email and handhelds, meanwhile, have produced new forms of isolation and loneliness: the fact that we can receive communications from work anywhere and anytime means we are exposed to work’s order-words when we are alone, without the possibility of support from fellow workers.
In sum, the obsession with the web, its monopolisation of any idea of the new, has served capitalist realism rather than undermined it. Which does not mean, naturally, that we should abandon the web, only that we should find out how to develop a more instrumental relationship with it. Put simply, we should use it – as a means of dissemination, communication and distribution – but not live inside it. The problem is that this goes against the tendencies of handhelds. We all recognise the by now cliched image of a train carriage full of people pecking at their tiny screens, but have we really registered how miserable this really is, and how much it suits capital for these pockets of socialisation to be closed down?”
- Abandon hope (summer is coming) | k-punk
The Mask of Red Death ~ by Ilyas Phaizulline…
“Forgot to turn off my speech recognition. It apparently translated my dog’s barks.” - Michael Molinari on Twitter
Bryan Ferry by Anton Corbijn, 1982.
I somehow managed to screw up the hashtag for my Connecticut Library Association slides so they’re at librarian.net/talks/cla15 instead of findable collocated with the CTLibs15 tag. I’ve rectified that here. I took some time off from public speaking in the last six months. Wanted to get some new ideas percolating. Was doing more writing and less speaking andtrying to do more listening. It was useful. I’m now back around. I filled in for a speaker who cancelled lateish at CLA last month in Groton CT and I’ve got a few more speaking gigs coming up including another CLA in California later in November. I’ve never spoken at that conference before and I am excited.
So here are my slides for my talk that I gave in Connecticut. Unlike past talks, I didn’t make a list of links to go along with it because I felt like most of them are Googleable if you need them (and I was pressed for time). Title, which I love, is Attitude: How to bring the empowerment divide by being more like Vanilla Ice. Enjoy. Feedback welcome.
Russell Drake, Ronald Herder & Anne D. Modugno
How to Make Electronic Music (Educational Audio Visual Inc., 1975)
- via Toys And Techniques
As a SWIMMING and powerlifting obsessive, I am of course especially enchanted by those bits (and pained by the lost suitcase of Muscle Beach photographs and other material! - so many lost books here...); but I am also just very struck by the vision of a working life. I found myself thinking several times as I read that I am too much of an insider, that I need really to rediscover my independence: the way to write amazing books is not to be an easy creature of the institution....
Anyway, THIS! (NB squat still weakest of the three lifts for me, but I am getting my technique down and there are some BIG NUMBERS in my near future I hope....)
Training intensively, even obsessively, at a small gym in San Rafael, I worked up to doing five sets of five reps with 555 pounds every fifth day. The symmetry of this pleased me but caused amusement at the gym--"Sacks and his fives." I didn't realize how exceptional this was until another lifter encouraged me to have a go at the California squat record. I did so, diffidently, and to my delight was able to set a new record, a squat with a 600-pound bar on my shoulders. This was to serve as my introduction to the power-lifting world; a weight-lifting record is equivalent in these circles, to publishing a scientific paper or a book in academia.And an account that has the overly shapely ring of storytelling but that surely has a good deal of truth in it (bonus link: squid giant axon!):
I committed a veritable genocide of earthworms in the college garden: thousands of earthworms would be needed to extract a respectable sample of myelin; I felt like Marie Curie processing her tons of pitchblende to obtain a decigram of pure radium. I became adept at dissecting out the nerve cord and cerebral ganglia in a single, swift excision, and I would mash these up to make a thick, myelin-rich soup ready for fractionation and centrifugation.And the note: "Perhaps I had never really expected to succeed in research. In a 1960 letter to my parents, wondering about doing research in physiology at UCLA, I wrote, 'I am probably too temperamental, too indolent, too clumsy ad even too dishonest to make a good research worker. The only things I really enjoy are talking . . . reading and writing.' And I quoted a letter I had just received from Jonathan Miller, who, writing about himself, Eric, and me, said, 'I am, like Wells, enchanted by the prospect and paralyzed by the reality of scientific research. The only place where any of us move nimbly or with grace is with ideas and words. Our love of science is utterly literary.'"
I kept careful notes in my lab notebook, a large green volume which I sometimes took home with me to ponder over at night. This was to prove my undoing, for, rushing to get to work one morning after oversleeping, I failed to secure the elastic bands on the bike rack and my precious notebook, containing nine months of detailed experimental data, escaped from the loose strands and flew off the bike while I was on the Cross Bronx Expressway. Pulling over to the side, I saw the notebook dismembered page by page by the thunderous traffic. I tried darting into the road two or three times to retrieve it, but this was madness, for the traffic was too dense and too fast. I could only watch helplessly until the whole book was torn apart.
I consoled myself, when I got to the lab, by saying at least I have the myelin itself; I can analyze it, look at it under the electron microscope, and regenerate some of the lost data. Over the ensuing weeks, I managed to do some good work and had started to feel some optimism again, despite some other mishaps, as when, in the neuropathology lab, I screwed the oil-immersion objective of my microscope through several irreplaceable slides.
Even worse, from my bosses' point of view, I managed to get crumbs of hamburger not only on my bench but in one of the centrifuges, an instrument I was using to refine the myelin samples.
Then a final and irreversible blow hit me: I lost the myelin. It disappeared somehow--perhaps I swept it into the garbage by mistake--but this tiny sample which had taken ten months to extract was irretrievably gone.
A meeting was convened: no one denied my talents, but no one could gainsay my defects. In a kindly but firm way, my bosses said to me, "Sacks, you are a menace in the lab. Why don't you go and see patents--you'll do less harm." Such was the ignoble beginning of a clinical career."
“Art handlers compete in the static hold event, in which they held framed pieces of lead (at 50 or 60 pounds) against a wall while a ‘curator’ barked orders.” (NYTimes) 
Here’s the orbital period of our solar system’s 8 major planets (how long it takes each to travel around the sun). Their size is to scale and their speed is accurate relative to Earth’s. The repetition of each GIF is proportional to their orbital period. Mercury takes less than 3 months to zoom around Sol, Neptune takes nearly 165 years.
From Shadow of the Thin Man (1941).
By 79th Street we decide to cut east, over to the American Museum of Natural History. Once we are inside, Oliver’s disposition brightens. We head over to the hall of mollusks and stop before a case of squid, nautili, and octopi. Oliver is by now positively chipper.
I ask him what he has always liked about them. For a moment he stares at the case thoughtfully—the polymorphous, slightly goofy octopus; the sleek propulsive squid; the squat cephalopod. He finally erupts, “You can see what I like about them.”
He pauses. “With octopi,” he says, “I suppose it was partly the face—that here, for the first time in evolution, appears a face, a distinct physiognomy, indeed a personality—it’s true, when you spend time with them, you begin to differentiate between them, and they seem to differentiate between you and other visitors.
“So, there was that, this mutual sense of affection for the alien.
“And their eyes, which are huge.
“And then there was their way of moving, which is jet propulsion.
“Their birdlike beaks, which can give you a nasty nip.
“And their sexual habits—the male, you see, donates a sperm-filled leg to the female.
“That, and their ancientness.
“And their simultaneous adventurousness—how they threw off the repressive shell and moved out, to float free.
“And then, I guess, their sliminess.”
He giggles. “I do like the slimy.”
THIS IS NOT GOOD.
Haven't been logging light reading partly because it has been mostly Xanax-style tranquilizing reading rather than of general literary interest. Should probably make some attempt to get it down here for the record: here are recommendations if you need to bathe your brain in well-written and undemanding urban fantasy....
SEVEN books about demons by Diana Rowland, TWO novels and TWO novellas by Melissa Olson about supernatural crime-scene cleanup, THREE very appealing novels by Anne Bishop on more science-fictional animal shape-changer lines and then TEN or so in an earlier fantasy series that unfortunately deployed the same stylistic means for having animal shape-changers talk telepathically to people (eroding my belief in the particularities of either of the fictional worlds), THREE demon/super-natural power novels by John Conroe (who is a very good writer but who has marred his series by giving his protagonist too many powers), ONE funny one by Harry Connolly with the appealing title A Key, an Egg, An Unfortunate Remark.
Also Elizabeth Wein's new installment in the WWII flying YA books (these are wonderful), Meghan Daum's new anthology of essays by writers who don't have children, two utterly brilliant novels by Hanya Yanagihara (I have reviewed A Little Life for Bookforum and won't say more here now, but this was a great link - indeed I know these young men very well myself).
And a few other things that deserve posts of their own!
Interesting stuff out and about town: my friend Preeti Vasudevan's absolutely beguiling Veiled Moon at the Met; an unusual sound-installation project called Earshot, a collaborative project by my former student Jason Bell among others. This took place at a very nice little bar in Williamsburg (two free cocktails were included in the very modest ticket price, and I also had what was pretty much the platonic ideal of a grilled ham-and-cheese sandwich - ruminations on the difference between Morningside Heights and Williamsburg very strong in me, I live in a neighborhood where I can live mostly in my own head, I am not worried about how I dress or the quality of the food and drink I consume or the self-performance of life on the street and for the most part those around me share my values, Williamsburg is a neighborhood where the hipster aesthetic leads to an ethos of INSTANTIATION - people actually care to the utmost about whether it really is a delicious cocktail or sandwich or a good shirt or beard or what have you....).
A comprehensive history of the gym.
Stephen Elliott on the strange experience of having his memoir turned into a movie.
Visualizing the migration of honey buzzards.
Test-driving Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion. (Needlessly snarky, but I wished I could share this one with my father - we had a very good memorial for him in Philadelphia a couple weeks ago, and I need to write up what I said there so that I can post it here.)
Additional posts to follow, only I need to leave shortly to head downtown for POWERLIFTING, which has been the balm to my soul this semester - without that plus copious amounts of urban fantasy on my Kindle, I am not sure how I would have survived the semester....
Interview from this month's issue of Marketing News about present shock, big data, and the end of linear narrative.
"The beginning of my conversation with Douglas Rushkoff happens as if it had been scripted: Rushkoff tries to answer my call while it’s being redirected from his phone through his laptop, through Google Voice and Skype, and the call doesn’t connect. “I don’t know what’s happening anymore,” he says. “Everything rings at once, and everything refers to something else.”
© François Le Diascorn
It could have been the Avengers of librarianing. All these powerhouses working together to help increase low-income childrens’ access to good reading material. But I don’t think that’s how it worked out. Here are my thoughts on last week’s press releases about this new set of programs. Written for The Message.
“CEN’s “weird news” stories and images appeal to news organisations precisely because they fall into…”
The King of Bullsh*t News
How a small British news agency and its founder fill your Facebook feed with stories that are wonderful, wacky – and often wrong.
The Sunday Series:
Sunday May 3, 2015
Due to a medical condition, I need to walk as much as possible. Usually one has a route where they go from "here" to "there." I decided not to follow that sort of logic, and I kept my mind free of distance or direction. I just walked down my stairs and turned in the direction of the wind. I almost get a vertigo feeling looking down the long street. It's hot, and I try to stay as much as possible in the shade. I have sensitive skin, and I do have a fear of aging. There is one part of my body that really bugs me, and that is the inner elbow area, where I have this ugly aging wrinkling skin. No one notices it except me, and it is the one thing I think about when I'm wearing a short-sleeve shirt or t-shirt.
To focus, I look at the pavement while walking. To be honest with you, I prefer concrete to nature. I'm fascinated with the way the street-walk is paved in squares, like a puzzle. The shadows that reflect on the pavement are also beautiful to me. I wonder what it would be like if someone painted the shadows on the sidewalk, so they are there all year-round. That type of perfection appeals to my aesthetic.
I come upon a fountain in the front yard of a house on Franklin Avenue. Due to the fact that there is a draught in Southern California, it is rare to see these fountains with running water. So what is left is just the statue itself. The bottom level is three baby angels (I presume that is what they are), holding up another level with two other angels grasping a stone, where on a good day, water would be coming out. There is something fantastic about watching water flowing from a fountain. Small or large, it doesn't make a difference, but just to see water flowing is like life going on. Without the flow, one feels close to a state of death.
About two blocks from this fountain, I see another statue on a lawn, except that this lawn and statue, with the house, is huge. In every sense, I try to imagine living in this house. No doubt, I would hate to cut the lawn, but if you live here, more likely you can afford a gardener or an army of gardeners to cut the lawn for you. The house itself is not beautiful, but just big. It seems obscene to be that huge, yet I can imagine myself living there alone, so I can wander through each room without a care in the world. If I died there alone, it would probably take days for someone to find my body. Oddly enough, that gives me a sense of comfort.
The statue on the lawn, besides the house, captures my attention. Again, there is an angel motif, and she (it seems to be that gender) is help supporting the bigger version of the angel, or is it just a woman? Does this statue have any real meaning? Or is it just something decorative on the biggest front yard I have ever seen in person. I projected the image that I'm sitting in the balcony, reading "Against Nature" and glancing at the statue from its behind. Being an 'ass' man, I fully appreciate the back side of a good statue.
As I walk on Franklin, heading west, I see a small home that has a pair of lions looking over the entrance to the house. Compared to the fountain and statue, this lion is chipped and in need of a paint job - but part of its charm is in the state it is in. The expression on the lion's face is not one of danger or 'beware, ' but a sense of peace or understanding. The more I look at it, the more I find the bust of this lion beautiful.
Further down the road, I located another home with a lawn, but this one has nothing but weeds. Yet the house seems to be in order. A mansion in terms, but there seems to be something more homey compared to the palace I just saw back a little ways. I imagine the person who lives here has done so for many years. Perhaps a recluse who is so close to civilization, that he or she can just breathe through it, by opening their windows. My guess these windows haven't been open for many years. Or perhaps there are children in there - maybe a brother and sister, and they don't know the outside world at all.
Two or three doors down, there is a home that seems Mayan-style, and I can imagine sessions of torture and pain being done in that location. In theory the design of this home wouldn't fit in the neighborhood, but alas, it does. It seems perfectly natural to be here on Franklin. When I walk by, I can feel the difference in temperature. There is a chill in the air, and once I pass it, the weather gets warmer. I walk back to it again, and yes, for sure a chill hangs in that area like a woman wearing a heavy dark dress in the winter of Los Angeles.
As I glance at the entrance and its staircase, I feel that it's possible that one entered here, knowing that they will never leave. The beauty of the place is seductive, but then so is death. Once you embrace the body of your killer, then you know, or at least, hope there is a better life somewhere else. As for me, I just walk on.
From the ’70s to the ’90s, a myriad of DEA and other federal units created their own patches in the world’s trippiest example of “knowing your enemy.” And yes, one of them depicts the grim reaper snorting cocaine while sitting on a bomb.
Find all the best patches here, and read more about the phenomenon in this Washington Post article by Christopher Ingraham.
When I was in graduate school I read a lot of Freud (OK, I read a lot of Janet Malcolm writing about Freud and, inspired by that, a little bit of Freud) and I caught a whiff of the good old family romance when I encountered “dadbod”:
“In case you haven’t noticed lately, girls are all about that dad bod,” Pearson wrote. “The dad bod is a nice balance between a beer gut and working out. The dad bod says, ‘I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.’ ”
“There is just something about the dad bod,” Pearson continued, “that makes boys seem more human, natural, and attractive.”
OK, I thought, I’m a guy who’s read a lot of Freud, I’m probably reading too much into this. Sometimes a trend piece is just a trend piece. But then:
Pearson: My dad has read it. He called me this morning to talk about it. My dad is super into CrossFit. He’s super, super fit and really healthy. He actually found a comment where someone had uploaded a picture from Facebook saying, “This is her, this is actually her and her dad!” My dad looks young. People think we’re dating all the time, because he’s in such great shape. He told me that he got a kick out of it. He sent it to my entire extended family, saying, “Look how funny my daughter is!” He’s really enjoyed the comments and the attention.