People I saw

Another post for my own records, just to keep track of all the old friends and new acquaintances I was happy to see while traveling for How Not To Be Wrong.  Ordered roughly chronologically and from memory:

Paula and Jay Gitles, Aleeza Strubel, Daniel Biss, Stephen Burt, Jessie Bennett, Jay Pottharst, Bob and Donna Friedman, Vineeta Vijayaraghavan, Larry Hardesty, Moon Duchin, Mira Bernstein, Jerry and Cynthia and Rachel Frenkil, Audrey and Scott Zunick, Joe Schlam, Dick Gross, Noam Elkies, Ben and Elishe Wittes, Eric Walstein, Larry Washington, Manil Suri, Ivars Peterson, Tina Hsu, David Plotz, Josh Levin, Amy Eisner, Deane Yang, Michelle Shih, Warren Bass, Meredith Broussard, Jon Hanke, Tom Scocca, Cathy O’Neil, John Swansburg, Mike Pesca, Kardyhm Kelly, Charlie Jane Anders, Mimi Lipson, Annalee Newitz, Ken Katz, Jill Himmelfarb, The Invisible Cities, Patrick LaVictoire, Akshay Venkatesh, Ravi Vakil, Gary Antonick, David Carlton, Liesl Bross, Miranda Bross, Mark Lucianovic, Tom Church, Yuran Lu, Daniel Kane, Leslie Rappoport, Douglas Wolk, Derek Garton, Matt Haughey, Josh Millard, Brian LaMacchia, Lionel Levine, Ana Crossman (and her mom), Heather Evans (and her mom), Bianca Viray.

 

It was very social!  And sorry to the people I’ve inevitably skipped.

 


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googlyeyebooks: “Thank God for books and googly eyes and things…



googlyeyebooks:

"Thank God for books and googly eyes and things I can think about."

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The Fugitives (8)

fugitives thumbChapter VIII: An Unwelcome Guest
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Photo



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Phone Horror (7)

tumblr_n37gtzmAkI1qdg6sho1_500Telephones in British supernatural lit.
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57k retweets and that’s just the original. A number of…









57k retweets and that’s just the original. A number of random accounts claim its their mom who Photocopied the iPhone. Rihanna retweeted one of the fakers. Then corrected her mistake.

It’s okay. Rihanna followed him and he made friends with someone who was once in a Beyonce video once for the post

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Closing tabs

I'm slammed with work just now: lingering post-semester/post-travel fatigue and lots of exercise are at odds, alas, with the monstrous productivity I otherwise desire!

Two dissertation defenses this week, and a host of other student meetings. I have also rashly agreed to write four tenure letters this summer - it was three, the first two I automatically say yes to as a matter of principle and the third is someone I know quite well and would like to help in any way possible. But then I couldn't say no to the fourth, either - though I now have declined #5, as that is genuinely too many.

Happy to be back at home with cats, but a little dismayed at how fast the summer is slipping through my fingers - hopefully if I can really have a productive week, I will get myself back in a good work groove?

Closing tabs:

Tiny Dubliners. (Via Becca, if memory serves, though that tab has been open for a while now....)

And an additional bit of Joyceana from Anthony Burgess (via Andrew Biswell).

Enjoyed The Gloaming at LPR last night.

Have had some very decent light reading (airports, planes, subways, etc.): a teaser for Taylor Stevens' forthcoming Vanessa Michael Munroe novel, The Vessel (this is the only other series I know of that approximates the pleasures of Lee Child's Jack Reacher books - I really like 'em); Stephen King, The Shining and Doctor Sleep (will save thoughts on this for elsewhere, as I am blogging this week to celebrate publication of the style book at the Columbia UP site and still have four more posts to write!); Rachel Howzell Hall, Land of Shadows (unfair of me to single this out, there's really nothing wrong with it other than a pervasive air of unreality, but I am now officially swearing off the police procedural for a while, I'm sick of 'em!); and James S. A. Corey, Cibola Burn. I loved it - this series is amazing, though I do wish that they would stop having so many different characters have the gift for MacGyveresque engineering problem-solving - it is plausible that one or two would have that sort of imagination, but once you bestow it on everyone, the whole thing starts to seem remarkably fictitious!
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June 22, 2014



June 22, 2014

The bookstore Book Soup and yours truly have a long history together.  Both as a customer and as an employee.  My first ten years there were off and on, and I worked there full-time from 1997 to 2012.   So altogether around 25 years, I have been associated with the store.  Mostly as a bookseller and then from 2009 to 2012, as its book buyer.  But even as a buyer I spent a lot of time on the floor, monitoring sales as well as chatting with the customers and the staff.

My first time in Book Soup was when they were located up the street from where they are currently.  The space was cramped, small, and cozy.  One doesn’t go to Book Soup for space, you go there to be surrounded by books, and if you get hit in the head with a book, better yet!  And that is precisely what happened to me in the art section, when I reached out towards the top shelf for a book on the British artist duo, Gilbert and George, that entire shelf fell on me.  I remember the employee there was shocked when it happened.   I said I was fine, and was slightly embarrassed what just took place.  Although I was in a mild form of shock, I pretended everything was OK, and I even purchased the Gilbert and George book, just to save myself from further embarrassment by destroying their art section.



Through a recommendation from Michael Silverblatt, I finally got a job at the store, after working some years at a record store. I decided to make a huge jump from vinyl to the printed page, and doing so, I never looked back.  In fact, there is not that much of a huge difference between music and reading.  It always is and always will be an intense relationship between the listener/reader and the world.  The man who hired me, Glenn Goldman, was the founder and owner of Book Soup.  I immediately liked him, but was never sure if he liked me.  He was remote, slightly eccentric, and sometimes difficult to connect with, but that was also the reason why I liked him.  He struck me as the perfect person for the world of book selling.  In many ways, it has nothing to do with the ‘real’ life that is outside the store. Yet it consistently reflects on that landscape outside the door of the business.  In many ways, I felt like an outsider, but I was perfectly at home at Book Soup, because I felt it was the home of those who find a lifestyle outside the work, or place as difficult.



The clientele of the store is amazing, and truly famous and wonderful.  To be honest, I have never met a customer at the store who I disliked.  If they are willing to go in and share the adventure, I’m a fan or friend of that person for life. Including the legendary, the wealthy, the border-line insane, and some were convicted criminals - all wonderful people.  Time-to-tiime one is approached by the gossip media to locate information regarding what a specific customer is reading or not reading, and I just basically want to shoot the reporter or editor, because one, it is none of their business, and two, it is a sin to me to rat on my customers.  It is a bond that I hold up to this day.  Doctor-client, lawyer-client, priest-client, and bookseller-client.  Anyone who would distract that relationship was a person I would want to torture and burn for in perpetuity.

What I admired most about Glenn was his vision for the store.  I think basically he just wanted a business that expressed the good life, and all the troubles that goes with such a world.  It takes a certain amount of courage to open up a bookstore, but he either by design or luck, found a great location to open up a store that served not only the entertainment world, but also the whole world as well.  Our customer base was everywhere from New York City to London, to various locations in Asia.  Most were prominent people in their fields of interest and occupation, and it was truly an honor to serve their needs.  Also the beauty of the store was that it never dumb-down its inventory.  The trivial books were sold, but so were titles and authors who had a strong effect on the literary landscape.  It was common knowledge that if Book Soup didn’t have that title, then it didn’t exist anymore.  Glenn was a remarkable buyer for his store, and just working with him, I learned a lot regarding the subject matter of taste and how to present that ‘taste’ to our customer.   He had personal reading taste, but he also listened to his customers, and with the advice of various publisher’s sales people he built the perfect book store.



The shock of hearing about his cancer, was horrifying on a lot of levels.  One, I couldn’t imagine him being ill, and two, what will happen to Book Soup, a home for me for many years?  When he went to the hospital he requested that I take over his buying duties, and without even thinking about it I told him “of course.” It was one of those moments that happened so fast, and so unexpectedly that I never really thought about it in great detail, but it was a moment that changed my life.

Using Glenn as a role model, throwing in some of my knowledge in the mix, as well as listening to the staff, customers, and observing the industry, I felt confidante that I was in my true role in life.  To curate, to shape the inventory of a store is quite a remarkable adventure - but most of all, I never had someone trust me with such responsibility before.  Glenn, although never compliment me verbally, but by him giving me this job, it was probably the most touching thing that happened in my life.   Since today (June 22) is Book Soup’s birthday and therefore Glenn Goldman’s birthday as well (at least to me) I honor his memory, and also to the store that brought me a great deal of happiness.  Oh and books as well.
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I love to linger over these composites, these recent long (tall) views — moreso than the animated gifs… but I’m not a video guy, am old, set in my ways… this new turn is really nice.

I love the way that (when it works) a gif can make big things hidden in the data pop right out at you - motion, or 3-dimensionality - but the amount of information lost in the process is pretty shocking. It is a delight to get absorbed in the detail of an image - when you can pick out individual dunes in a dunefield, or the undulation of a smooth plain. 

Ideally there might be some synthesis of the two - the slow cinema of space? - but that may depend on new techniques, or even on new imagery.

Rgrds,
B.

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drunk-bacon-god: How to have a bikini body…. Put on a bikini…



drunk-bacon-god:

How to have a bikini body…. Put on a bikini and go outside!!!

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Billy Wilder

wilder thumbHis Cold War movies predict Pynchon's seriocomic acuities.
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Cole unfiltered

Emma Brockes interviews Teju Cole for the Guardian:
Art history is a passion, but some way into the course, he started to find academic writing frustrating."While doing the dissertation, I wrote two books – so both of these books are acts of procrastination. They also became acts of understanding a form of address that satisfied me, or that I found more fulfilling. I guess you're never satisfied, really. But as a writer, as a creative person, the very stringent, offensively foot-noted writing that was required to be an academic art historian lost its shine for me."
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lencowgill2012: Jean-Michel Basquiat



lencowgill2012:

Jean-Michel Basquiat

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lencowgill2012: Marcel Duchamp



lencowgill2012:

Marcel Duchamp

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The Lost Prince (25)

lost-princeA Voice in the Night
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Kris Kristofferson

Kris-KristoffersonTakin' ev'ry wrong direction on his lonely way back home.
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June 21, 2014



June 21, 2014

What I like about writing is noticing the little moments in one’s life and other’s as well.  What does appear to be insignificant, can be important if it’s framed in a certain fashion.  The songwriting craft of say, someone like Ray Davies of The Kinks is his ability to place emphasis on the trivial and bring it out dramatically in his songs.  It is interesting to compare his songs with Pete Townshend of The Who, because basically they share a country as well as a culture.  Yet, Townshend focuses on the big statement, for instance, “My Generation, ” and Davies write “Waterloo Sunset.” A beautiful song that captures an intimate moment or a series of moments, which speak softly, but has a great deal of meaning to the listener.  Both artists look at the world visually as well as thematic, with respect to class, culture, and how that individual is positioned in that world.  The thing with Townshend is that he takes huge subject matters and presents it that sort of represents the everyday person.   In a way, he’s like Wagner in capturing the immense emotional moment.  Davies on the other hand is more of a sketch artist, or one who draws in pencil, and also deals with a group of people who belong to a specified location and of course a member of the class system of that neighborhood.  The Who is international, and The Kinks are… British.

It is also interesting to read “Who I Am” by Townshend and Ray Davies “Americana.” The Pete book is very much grand in its scope of The Who’s history, but I found it lacking a certain amount of feeling or details of people around him at the time.  On the other hand, Ray’s book is filled with insightful and detailed observations of the world around him.   The Who is great, and Townshend is a fantastic songwriter, but Ray Davies strikes me more of a skillful artist to my liking.  He’s in the same league as his fellow British writers such as Noel Coward, Alan Bennett, and perhaps Morrissey.  Hearing The Kinks’ classic “Village Green Preservation Society,” one can practically smell the British town or countryside off the vinyl record.  The observation of that world is pictorially clear, and you can taste the English tea and the seasons off that album.  In something like “Tommy” or “Quadrophenia” one gets the huge scope of one’s life, but again, it lacks specific details.



As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m a huge Osamu Dazai fan, due to his attention to a specific environment,  and when I read or listen to a Ray Davies song, I get the same charge out of it, as reading Dazai. I know my limits, and I will never be as good as those writers, but still, I try to reach up to the stars, and will settle for a rooftop at the very least.   We all have choices to make, and it is important to engage into that precise choice.  Commitment is very imperative, and to follow through that journey, wherever it may take us, is part of the adventure, and not fully the destination.  I often admired (but not loved) the poetry of Paul Élaurd, due to its sweeping brush-strokes of a time that must have been difficult for him and the whole of Europe between the world wars and dealing with the Nazi occupation of France.  Nevertheless, what was touching in his work was his intense, perhaps even obsessive, love for his wife, Nusch, who I know little about, but I do know that she served the poet as a muse of sorts.  So yes, one gets the big picture of his work, but in the end I know a little about his inspiration.  A poet can do many things, but for me, I like the poet who sees the world as it is mapped out, and put their stamp on that world as they see it.   A lack of detail can make the work seem lazy, and it is difficult as a writer to fulfill that vision that is a clear picture of one’s subject matter, whatever that maybe.



I cannot make comments on the whole world, but perhaps if I focus on the little things around me, one can gather enough information, or even a feeling, that can somehow be of some interest to a reader.  Then again, who knows?
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Kids Read Comics

Representing today & tomorrow for teen & adult readers at the Ann Arbor District Library’s Kids Read Comics festival — really fun to be back in the library I grew up using. If you’re in or near Ann Arbor, come say hi!

image

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Photo



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Jean-Paul Sartre

beauvoir-sartre-550We are condemned to be free.
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File X (32)

lee x thumbChristopher Lee's 'X' Certificate (1975)
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holyfrittata: Some nail art thoughts since I might go do them…



holyfrittata:

Some nail art thoughts since I might go do them this weekend…

The last two are from ulisesfarinas's judge helm and Foley Fox from the IDW MC2 series.

I’m such a dork

Day. Made.

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benjoyment: My latest invention!  Post-It Nopes! 



benjoyment:

My latest invention!  Post-It Nopes

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June 20, 2014



June 20, 2014

Rarely, have I ever been disappointed with a record that was produced by Mickie Most.  I’m intrigued by not only the artist who made the record, but also the person, in other words, the wizard, behind the curtain that pulls all the levers and pushes the buttons.  Mickie Most had the vision thing down, and the entire 1960s and most of the 1970s he was quite the visionary.  I was around 15-years old, and I found myself in London, wanting to make a record.  I was in a teenage band, but I wanted to go beyond our Led Zeppelin obsession and make a really heavy commercial rock single.  At the time, I had heard rumors that while producing The Yardbirds’ “Little Games” album he insisted that all the songs be around the three minute mark, and this was the era when musicians wanted to expand their song length.  Most, at heart, only loved the 45 rpm single, and therefore that is the reason why I love Mickie Most.  I wrote a song called “Can the Ass That I'm ” and I had the opportunity to audition the record in front of Mickie Most.  He liked it, and I told him right off, that I too believe in the power of a single that is under three minutes.  He smiled when I told that, and he organized a session for me for later that week.



Even though I was a teenager, I had unusual obsessions as a youth.  I was totally fascinated with 1920s Berlin, and I thought somehow I can fit that into my image or use the imagery of that period for the upcoming single.  That week before the recording, I studied a lot of images from that era, and came up with a great Kurt Schwitters’ college that he did in the 40s.  It was out of bound with respect to the era I was interested in, but then again, the beauty of pop is that you can exchange an idea or a series of images and make them your own.  The truth of the manner is I co-wrote the song with a German writer by the name of Elisabeth Hauptmann, who actually wrote most of “The Three-Penny Opera” for Bertolt Brecht.  It was an odd pairing of me being 15 and she was around her early 70s, but that is also what makes “Can The Ass That I’m” so unique.  So writing a song with a woman who wrote for Brecht in Berlin 1920s and making that record for Mickie Most, in addition to having a Schwitter college as its cover - well, how perfect is that!



Truth be told, Elisabeth pretty much wrote the song, including the melody.  She wrote it as if it was a German cabaret song, and what I did was updated her version of the song  to sort of a heavy rock piece.  Art works in mysterious ways, but God it worked!  When I showed up to the recording session, I was surprised that Most got John Paul Jones to do the arrangements, and also Big Jim Sullivan was going to handle the guitar.  As we went through the song a couple of times, I went up to the microphone with my lyric sheet and started singing:

“You know what I can, when I’m such a fan
That such a bland, no-it-all
Can the Ass that I’m and I aim to please
So darling, don’t spread your candy
Before I shake my pop, before my po-pul-ar-ity
A tat-tat-tat  You’re so 
Delicious, palatable, luscious, and mouthwatering too

Oh baby, can the ass that I’m
Oh baby, can the ass that I’m

(Tosh Berman/Elisabeth Hauptmann/Bertolt Brecht, ©RAK Music Publishing)



For the b-side, John put together an arrangement of an Eric Dolphy piece from his album “Out To Lunch!” called “Hat and Beard.” I really had nothing to do with the b-side or its recording.  But it sounded cool to me, and I was fine with it.  Funny enough, listening to it now, it reminds me of Brian Wilson’s work for “Smile, ” and I wonder if maybe he picked up on this record.  But who knows, that was so many years ago.  The record was never a hit, and it was the one and only recording I have done.  At that point, I went back to Los Angeles to complete school (or I should say it finished me) and eventually I worked at a bookstore for many years on the Sunset Strip.  One evening, while I was behind the counter, Mickie Most came in and bought some British newspapers.  He was looking at the papers, but he did catch my eye, and clearly he didn’t recognize me.  Well oh my, can the ass that I’m.
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Code-X (14)

Sentry Investments ad: stock ticker symbols UP for “Big Picture” and “Windex,” DOWN for “Rose-Coloured Glasses.”Boomer Visionquest
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wmagazine: The golden touch Photograph by Tim Walker; styled by…



wmagazine:

The golden touch

Photograph by Tim Walker; styled by Jacob K; W magazine May 2014. 

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Photo



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paddleson: The exhibition, titled “Drawings,” takes place in…



paddleson:

The exhibition, titled “Drawings,” takes place in an unlit room, brightened only by what appear to be a series of blank canvases emitting an alien light. Upon closer glance, the canvases morph into digital drawings, each containing a lone computer cursor in motion. Some cursors zoom from right to left and back again, resembling a 21st century brushstroke that never quite finds its place. Others loop around furiously like a fly that’s been trapped. It’s unsettling to see a screen with all that blankness; normally such vessels are flooded with windows, tabs and popups of all kinds. Rarely do we get to see screen as screen.

Meet Yung Jake, The Art World’s Favorite RapperThe Huffington Post explores the Paddles ON! artist’s solo show at Steve Turner Contemporary in Los Angeles.

Follow yungjake on Tumblr and Twitter!

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the-rx: Bertrand Russell tells you how to be a philosopher: The…





the-rx:

Bertrand Russell tells you how to be a philosopher:

The semester’s last manuscript of the week is from philosopher Bertrand Russell, whose birthday is on the 18th.  These three original manuscripts contain the text of “How to become a philosopher,” “How to become a logician,” and “How to become a mathematician.”  They were later published in one volume by Haldeman-Julius Publications as nos. 7, 8, and 9 of The How-to series in 1942.  E. Haldeman-Julius donated them to the Philosophy Section of the Missouri Academy of Science in March 1943. Find it in the MERLIN catalog.

Posted by Kelli Hansen on Scripta Manent 

"If you wish to become a logician, there is one piece of advice which I cannot urge too strongly, & that is: Do NOT learn the traditional formal logic.  In Aristotle’s day it was a creditable effort, but so was the Ptolemaic astronomy.  To teach either in the present day is a ridiculous piece of antiquarianism."

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sightingthesound: 47 animal sounds over and over. Quilt…



sightingthesound:

47 animal sounds over and over.

Quilt by @adamfschwartz @EdwardTufte.

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JEMD @ Bang On A Can in NYC

jemdscreencap
This Sunday I’m presenting the Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner at the Bang On A Can Marathon in lower Manhattan. The event is free. The lineup is stellar. We go on in late afternoon right after the incredible Meredith Monk! (Eastman sang on Monk’s Dolmen Music) Other performers include Jherek Bischoff, Roomful of Teeth, So Percussion. Info.

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Audie Murphy

murphyHe won every available U.S. military combat award for valor.
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Conan Doyle estate vs. Sherlock Holmes industry

Peter Decherney on the Sherlock Holmes industry.
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4cp: Summertime Blues



4cp:

Summertime Blues

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installator: “A giant statue of actress Marilyn Monroe was…



installator:

"A giant statue of actress Marilyn Monroe was dumped at a garbage collecting company in Guigang, China. The almost 30-foot tall stainless steel statue, which weighs about eight tons, was made by several Chinese artists over two years, based on the famous scene from her movie "The Seven Year Itch.’" (nbcnews.com)

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Convergences

This one caught my attention last week at the symmetrical breakfast blog.

This one is more extreme and therefore more amazing, only I don't understand why the lines have to be so irregular - it is insufficiently compulsive, by my lights, though I love the concept....
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June 19, 2014



June 19, 2014

Some years ago, working at Book Soup, I was shelving books in the bottom row, which is ground level, when all of sudden a book from above fell on to my head - it was “No Longer Human” by Osamu Dazai.  I thought this was a sign from above, and therefore bought and read the book.  The narrative of a young misfit in a very structured society, had a profound affect on me, and it put serious ideas that I should be a writer as well as a publisher.  Some point out that there are no such things as accidents, but even though it looked like the hand of fate played a role in all of this, I feel I was just lucky to be hit in the head with this book.




At the time of this “accident”, I was a big fan of Yukio Mishima.  I liked everything about this guy - his fascism, his dandyism, his writing, and the fact that he appeared to be a creature who re-invented himself to be Mishima.   The one writer that he hated was Osamu Dazai.  Due to the fact that he was popular and respected in the Japanese literary world of course, but also that in his eyes, Dazai was a weak character.  Keep in mind, Mishima had to re-invent himself from a weakling (in his eyes) to a super figure.  Dazai was the total opposite of Mishima.  For one, he was very much a failure with respect to his wealthy family.  He became a Communist, a failed student,  a drug addict, drunk and worst, he tried to commit suicide numerous times, and once organized a double- suicide with a 19-year old bar hostess named Shimeko Tanabe, in which he survived the suicide attempt, but she died.



Mishima, right after he wrote “Confessions of a Mask” (an incredible book by the way) was invited to a large ‘literary’ party that was in honor of Dazai.   He never met him, and on top of that, there was nobody there except individuals who were highly influential in literature at this exclusive party.  Mishima went up to Dazai, among the crowd that surrounded him, and told him to his face - my name is Mishima, and I don’t care for your work.” Everyone around Dazai was shocked to hear such a pronouncement from a fledgling writer to an older literary figure - Dazai just looked at him, and laughed.  He told everyone right at that moment “He is only saying that, because he loves me.” This statement struck Mishima hard, in fact he told this story to friends, right before he committed his famous suicide.

Of course, this made Dazai more enduring to me, and eventually I read everything possible by him that were translated into English.  My favorite two books by him are “Self Portraits, ” which is a collection of his short stories and “Return to Tsugaru.” The latter basically started out as an assignment for him to go back to his home town and to document the environmental facts of that area.  But with him, you get a memoir of sorts as read as a travel guide.   The thing is, like the “Self Portraits” book, it reads like little memoir pieces, is actually fiction.  The fact that he could use his sad, pathetic life, and turn it into a charming piece of writing, had a major effect on my own aesthetic.  Dazai opened me up to a much larger world.



On one of my many trips to Japan, I went out of the way to go to his studio near Mount Fuji, and it was a very expensive trip for me.  Taking a taxi from a small town to his location cost around $100, but it was worth it for me to see one of his manuscripts under glass as well as viewing Mount Fuji from his studio.   He wrote this remarkable short story called “One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji” which is about how the great mountain oversees so much of the culture of Japan, and how it can even affect a writer.  The last paragraph of the story is about how Dazai, or the main character, was stopped by a pair of tourists who wanted him to snap a picture of them with Mount Fuji in the background.  Dazai agreed to do it, but unknown to them, he brought the camera lens up and shot the mountain instead of the tourists.  To me, this was such a fascinating comment on an iconic piece of property as well as a mountain’s importance to people.



As time went on, his life got messier and messier. It was obvious he was heading to a point of no return.   He met a young war widow who had lost her husband after 10 days of married life.  Her name was Tomie Yamazaki.  He ran off his wife and children to be with her, and eventually they had a child out-of-wedlock.  It was with her, that he finally committed suicide - and their bodies were found a week later in a canal near their home.  There is a theory that he was actually murdered and forced to drown by Tomie, and then she killed herself by drowning, but that is just a rumor.  I have been haunted by a photograph of both of their bodies by the river.



Every time I put pen to paper or push a letter off the computer keyboard I think of Osamu Dazai.   From time-to-time I have been asked by a magazine editor for my photograph for the use in a publication, and I usually just send a photo of Dazai, because I honestly feel he represent me more than I.
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Quarreling with Cato

Last week Salon printed an excerpt from How Not To Be Wrong, in which I tweak Daniel J. Mitchell of the Cato Institute for asking the rhetorical question “Why is America trying to become more like Sweden when Swedes are Trying to be Less Like Sweden?”  I describe the vision of economics implied by the headline as “linear” (or, more generally, “monotone”)  In particular, the headline seems to take the view that smaller government is either a good thing or  a bad thing, independent of context.  If it’s good for Swedes, it’s good for us too.

 

Mitchell didn’t like what I had to say very much, accusing me of calling him a “buffoon”.  He complains that he doesn’t hold any such simplistic linear view.

 

And that’s right!  He doesn’t.  Nobody does, if they sit down to think consciously about what their views are.  But when you sit down to write a zingy headline, sometimes you just reach for something that expresses your vague rules of thumb instead of your carefully articulated beliefs.  (And yes, as a fellow blogger, I get that sometimes you stretch your point a little bit when you reach for that headline; take it from the guy who just published a piece about Berkson’s fallacy called “Why Are Handsome Men Such Jerks?”)

 

The headline makes it sound like there’s something incongruous about Sweden shrinking its government while we grow ours.  But there’s nothing strange about that at all – unless you have in mind something like the linear model that Mitchell correctly disavows.

So what is Mitchell’s actual view about the relation between Swedishness and prosperity?  He says it’s governed by something called the Rahn curve.  According to that curve, or at least Mitchell’s take on it, prosperity peaks when government spending is about 20 percent of GDP, and declines roughly linear thereafter.  As of 2012, there was only one country in the developed world, sorta-free Singapore, whose government spending was that low.  Which means that in the range occupied by countries from the United States to Sweden, from Australia to Korea, the relation between Swedishness and prosperity is more or less exactly the one I drew in the picture Mitchell objects to.  It may well be that the US government should spend less on its citizens.  But contra Mitchell’s headline, Sweden’s best course gives no guidance concerning ours.


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Quarreling with Cato

Last week Salon printed an excerpt from How Not To Be Wrong, in which I tweak Daniel J. Mitchell of the Cato Institute for asking the rhetorical question “Why is America trying to become more like Sweden when Swedes are Trying to be Less Like Sweden?”  I describe the vision of economics implied by the headline as “linear” (or, more generally, “monotone”)  In particular, the headline seems to take the view that smaller government is either a good thing or  a bad thing, independent of context.  If it’s good for Swedes, it’s good for us too.

 

Mitchell didn’t like what I had to say very much, accusing me of calling him a “buffoon”.  He complains that he doesn’t hold any such simplistic linear view.

 

And that’s right!  He doesn’t.  Nobody does, if they sit down to think consciously about what their views are.  But when you sit down to write a zingy headline, sometimes you just reach for something that expresses your vague rules of thumb instead of your carefully articulated beliefs.  (And yes, as a fellow blogger, I get that sometimes you stretch your point a little bit when you reach for that headline; take it from the guy who just published a piece about Berkson’s fallacy called “Why Are Handsome Men Such Jerks?”)

 

The headline makes it sound like there’s something incongruous about Sweden shrinking its government while we grow ours.  But there’s nothing strange about that at all – unless you have in mind something like the linear model that Mitchell correctly disavows.

So what is Mitchell’s actual view about the relation between Swedishness and prosperity?  He says it’s governed by something called the Rahn curve.  According to that curve, or at least Mitchell’s take on it, prosperity peaks when government spending is about 20 percent of GDP, and declines roughly linear thereafter.  As of 2012, there was only one country in the developed world, sorta-free Singapore, whose government spending was that low.  Which means that in the range occupied by countries from the United States to Sweden, from Australia to Korea, the relation between Swedishness and prosperity is more or less exactly the one I drew in the picture Mitchell objects to.  It may well be that the US government should spend less on its citizens.  But contra Mitchell’s headline, Sweden’s best course gives no guidance concerning ours.


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blackfashion: Rachel, Chicago, 19 dress: urban outfitters,…



blackfashion:

Rachel, Chicago, 19

dress: urban outfitters, necklace: H&M, DIY rose clip

raychillster.tumblr.com

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tinypmsmatch: Pantone 2404 color match. A spiky seed cone of…



tinypmsmatch:

Pantone 2404 color match.
A spiky seed cone of the Atlantic Whitecedar, which is actually a cypress, not a true cedar.

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wakest: things Google thinks my profile picture looks like: a…



wakest:

things Google thinks my profile picture looks like:

  • a hurricane 11
  • a duck 4
  • a tooth 1
  • a computer mouse 2
  • a  cheetah 1
  • a dog 1
  • a dead bunny 1
  • a hoola hooping girl 1
  • a pelican 1
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un-gif-dans-ta-gueule: Let’s try something different



un-gif-dans-ta-gueule:

Let’s try something different

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Phone Horror (6)

Annex+-+Fonda,+Henry+(Story+of+Alexander+Graham+Bell,+The)_01A Brief History of a Crypto-Science
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File X (31)

hilgendorf x thumbOrganization X (1954), by Hermann Hilgendorff.
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eshackleton: Isbjørn (The Polar Bear) in Fram over…



eshackleton:

Isbjørn (The Polar Bear) in Fram over Polhavet (Out over the Arctic Ocean), book and illustrations by Fridtjof Nansen.

Blog: http://eshackleton.com/

Follow the adventure on Twitter: @EShackleton

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June 18, 2014



June 18, 2014

Looking back on my life, I obviously wasted a lot of time.  But on the other hand I had a sense of immense enjoyment as well.  Regret is knowing something and ignoring that urge. I on the other hand never ignored an urge on my part.  For instance, recalling that now, I should have never worked in the workforce and become just another drone in the world of financially surviving.  There is no crime being poor, but truly there is something indecent about not doing what you want to do.  But even then, I enjoyed my life greatly.  The one thing that impressed me as a child was watching “Have Gun Will Travel,” for whom the main character Paladin, was a gentleman, a scholar, a connoisseur of fine wine, women, and living the life in wild west era San Francisco.  But like in real life, the dualities that we are willing to live in, Paladin makes his money by being a hired gun. Although this is a television show, I find it implications in real life fascinating.



Ted Kaczynski is an interesting figure as well, because on one hand he is a murderer, yet he has an interesting philosophy with respect how one lives in a world where nature is slowly or quickly in some cases are murdered by today’s world.  By what we see or hear of Kaczynski, he was or is a remarkable fellow.  Accepted to Harvard when he was only 16, and graduated from that school when he was 20.  Eventually he went to University of Michigan where he got his PhD in mathematics.   His speciality was a branch of complex analysis known as geometric function theory.  Also noted by his professors at the time, that Kaczynski’s thesis “Boundary Functions” was so advanced, that only “maybe 10 or 12 men in the country understood or appreciate it.” In 1967, Kaczynski became an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley where he taught courses in geometry and calculus.  He was the youngest professor ever hired by the University.  But alas, he wasn’t a competent teacher.  Students stated that he was often stuttering and mumbling during class lectures, and were remote from his students.  Without providing a reason to his superiors, he left to wander in the hills outside of Lincoln, Montana.  He was living in a cabin that had no running water or electricity.  Still, it was a good location to make a bomb or two in complete privacy.



If I had to opt for Paladin and Kaczynski, I would take the third choice, Raymond Radiguet, who was a novelist and poet and a very dear friend to Jean Cocteau.  Like Kaczynski, Radiguet was quite young. In fact, he died of typhoid fever when he was only 20 years old. But before that he wrote two remarkable novels “The Devil in the Flesh” and “The Count’s Ball.” As I am just about 60, I am surprised that I didn’t write a book decades ago.  Both the lives of Paladin and Kaczynski I sort of can admire, but to live in the shoes of Radiguet, even though his life only lasted a matter of seconds, compared to the other two, his life was a dream.  Being supported by the great Cocteau, although one can wonder how much that support was for Radiguet’s talent as a writer or as a gentleman of certain pleasures.

Death at an early age puts a frame around one’s talent and personality.  It is just like adding the period after Radiguet.  Paladin didn’t exist, but yet his “existence” did, and therefore never disappointed me. The life of Kaczynski could have been perfect as well, but he made choices that I’m not happy with.  Regardless of the fact that his message is quite clear, his actions were not. Regardless of the fact that he’s still alive, it is like he’s living a death behind bars. He’s a memory that eventually will be a footnote in true crime history.  One doesn’t read emotion in his character, till one realizes that he fell under the charm of a sentiment, that he will never successfully spread, due to his heartless sense of justice.  Rage can be a beneficial tool, but it is best to use it for the pen on the paper.



The one true perfect moment for me is when I watched The Ed Sullivan show after “Have Gun Will Travel” and realizing what will come next would for at least a moment or two, brought a huge group of people together by a few Yeah, Yeah’s - and the world of black and white turned into a beautiful technicolor point of view of the planet. But alas, like a lot of dreams it turned sour.  For me, I have to live in a life projected by a light beam, because I can't deal with the disappointments that surround one's life.  Yet, with hindsight, one can cherry pick the highs and can leave the lows in the trash bin that is history.


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itscolossal: Long Exposure Photos of Budapest Trams Lit Up with…







itscolossal:

Long Exposure Photos of Budapest Trams Lit Up with 30,000 LED Lights

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karateboogaloo: Monomono – The Dawn of Awareness



karateboogaloo:

Monomono - The Dawn of Awareness

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King Goshawk (25)

cuchulain thumbHow the Universities received the New Evangel
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