fromschnitzeltosalsa: Check out the spelling on this menu for…



fromschnitzeltosalsa:

Check out the spelling on this menu for the Lake Placid Club in 1934.  Melville Dewey (yes, of Dewey Decimal System fame) founded the Lake Placid Club and was supporter of simplified spelling. According to a blog post in the Adirondack Almanack, “Melville’s fascination with language and with efficiency also left its mark on the Lake Placid Club, in the form of ‘simpler spelling.’ Designed to ‘economize time and shorten the years of study’ as well as to save publishing costs, Dewey’s system for simplified spelling eliminated ‘unnecessary letters’ from the English language.” Dewey died in 1931 (three years before this menu), but apparently his spelling legacy lived on at the Lake Placid Club.

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new-aesthetic: Long-Exposure Spy Cameras Will Capture Berlin’s…



new-aesthetic:

Long-Exposure Spy Cameras Will Capture Berlin’s Growth For The Next 100 Years - PSFK, via Dan W.

Artist Jonathon Keats has designed a surveillance unit that has a century-long exposure time, so it can capture the gradual change of a city over the years. Working with the Team Titanic gallery, the unauthorized urban project will see 100 of these Century Cameras hidden all across Berlin next week. The cameras serve not only as a way to uniquely document the passing of time, but also as a way to hold present-day Berliners accountable for their city’s future. “The first people to see these photos will be children who haven’t yet been conceived. They’re impacted by every decision we make, but they’re powerless. If anyone has the right to spy on us, it’s our descendants.”
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Long-Exposure Spy Cameras Will Capture Berlin’s Growth For…



Long-Exposure Spy Cameras Will Capture Berlin’s Growth For The Next 100 Years - PSFK, via Dan W.

Artist Jonathon Keats has designed a surveillance unit that has a century-long exposure time, so it can capture the gradual change of a city over the years. Working with the Team Titanic gallery, the unauthorized urban project will see 100 of these Century Cameras hidden all across Berlin next week. The cameras serve not only as a way to uniquely document the passing of time, but also as a way to hold present-day Berliners accountable for their city’s future. “The first people to see these photos will be children who haven’t yet been conceived. They’re impacted by every decision we make, but they’re powerless. If anyone has the right to spy on us, it’s our descendants.”
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“1) customer focus (not competitor focus), 2) take big swings…



"1) customer focus (not competitor focus), 2) take big swings & invent, 3) have long term view. Bezos to schoolkids." - @spencerrascoff on Twitter)

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Gil Evans

evans thumbArranging and rearranging was his witchcraft.
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(via Calamityware: Disastrous Scenarios on Traditional Blue…



(via Calamityware: Disastrous Scenarios on Traditional Blue Porcelain Dinner Plates | Colossal)

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Jet lag/speed read

Alas, I experienced an intense bout of wakefulness after those optimistic last posts - still at the computer rather than winding down, it's 1:30am here and I was really hoping to run in the morning before 9:30am departure for sightseeing. Probably that is not realistic....

But I saw a funny link I had to share....

Brendan Byrne at Rhizome on speed-reading caught my attention anyway - and then I came upon this paragraph:
"If only I'd known about RSVP while in college, I may have actually gotten through all 1,000 pages of Tom Jones," writes Jim Pagels in Slate. The initial impulse to question Pagels' purity of spirit should be quashed. No one can read Tom Jones the way Fielding's initial audience did in 1749 (unless someone were to construct an immersive VR world, complete with memory wipes, to enable full reading-experience). And, indeed, the first page or so of Tom Jones goes down easily enough on Spreeder, if only because it is primarily table-setting. Stick the first couple of paragraphs of The Manifesto of the Communist Party in there, and you'll get the gist, but you begin to see the delicate impact of the loss of subvocalization. The twin delicious names "Metternich and Guizot" cannot be chewed over, nor can the inadvisable nostalgia associated with the phrase "French Radicals and German police-spies" be indulged in, even briefly.
Obviously I had to click through that link - Jim Pagels was my Columbia student, that may well have been my Tom Jones assignment! Here is the underlying link.

I think I am not in agreement with the Byrne commentary - I have never endeavored for speed reading, but I can't remember not knowing how to read and I have always been able to read at a not preternaturally but certainly implausibly fast rate. I can only think of a few times when I actually had to pause after and digest - I remember a spell of daily reading in the Rare Books and Manuscripts room at the British Library when I would request the maximum number of books (fifteen, maybe, or was it only twelve?) per day and basically just go through them all (many were shorter eighteenth-century things like Jethro Tull's The New Horse-Houghing Husbandry, more pamphlet than book) so that I could get my full total of new ones the next day.

It's not quite skimming, it's definitely speed-reading in some sense, and assuming I'm not trying to read something densely philosophical, I can probably under real pressure get through about 2000 pages in 8 hours and have decent recall (this works best when you are reading purposefully, i.e. for research for a book or because you need to write a report on a dossier or similar - for real serious reading i.e. of narrative history or non-theoretical scholarship, 100pp/hr is more realistic, or perhaps more comfortable is the better way of putting it). That particular library session was almost the only time I remember when I didn't read a novel on public transportation on the way home - I was clearly still letting it sink in and sort itself out. It was an interesting feeling but doing it too often would probably take years off your life!

I read Bleak House as a teenager in not much more than one sitting, maybe eight or ten hours, and I reread War and Peace a few summers ago also just over a couple of days, in three or four longish sessions - an average crime novel c. 75K will probably take me less than two hours to read, and I do like really long novels that will give me better value for money! This is a gift, especially for work purposes, but it is also a curse in terms of the gaping maw always needing to have more things fed into it (I had a shock of recognition when I saw this scene at the end of Fargo - it is a little frightening, but I have never seen a better depiction of my relationship with books!).

One of the things I write about in the style book is the impact of duration on the experience of reading - I think War and Peace at 10 hours is a quite different animal than War and Peace at 50 hours....
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Jet lag/speed read

Alas, I experienced an intense bout of wakefulness after those optimistic last posts - still at the computer rather than winding down, it's 1:30am here and I was really hoping to run in the morning before 9:30am departure for sightseeing. Probably that is not realistic....

But I saw a funny link I had to share....

Brendan Byrne at Rhizome on speed-reading caught my attention anyway - and then I came upon this paragraph:
"If only I'd known about RSVP while in college, I may have actually gotten through all 1,000 pages of Tom Jones," writes Jim Pagels in Slate. The initial impulse to question Pagels' purity of spirit should be quashed. No one can read Tom Jones the way Fielding's initial audience did in 1749 (unless someone were to construct an immersive VR world, complete with memory wipes, to enable full reading-experience). And, indeed, the first page or so of Tom Jones goes down easily enough on Spreeder, if only because it is primarily table-setting. Stick the first couple of paragraphs of The Manifesto of the Communist Party in there, and you'll get the gist, but you begin to see the delicate impact of the loss of subvocalization. The twin delicious names "Metternich and Guizot" cannot be chewed over, nor can the inadvisable nostalgia associated with the phrase "French Radicals and German police-spies" be indulged in, even briefly.
Obviously I had to click through that link - Jim Pagels was my Columbia student, that may well have been my Tom Jones assignment! Here is the underlying link.

I think I am not in agreement with the Byrne commentary - I have never endeavored for speed reading, but I can't remember not knowing how to read and I have always been able to read at a not preternaturally but certainly implausibly fast rate. I can only think of a few times when I actually had to pause after and digest - I remember a spell of daily reading in the Rare Books and Manuscripts room at the British Library when I would request the maximum number of books (fifteen, maybe, or was it only twelve?) per day and basically just go through them all (many were shorter eighteenth-century things like Jethro Tull's The New Horse-Houghing Husbandry, more pamphlet than book) so that I could get my full total of new ones the next day.

It's not quite skimming, it's definitely speed-reading in some sense, and assuming I'm not trying to read something densely philosophical, I can probably under real pressure get through about 2000 pages in 8 hours and have decent recall (this works best when you are reading purposefully, i.e. for research for a book or because you need to write a report on a dossier or similar - for real serious reading i.e. of narrative history or non-theoretical scholarship, 100pp/hr is more realistic, or perhaps more comfortable is the better way of putting it). That particular library session was almost the only time I remember when I didn't read a novel on public transportation on the way home - I was clearly still letting it sink in and sort itself out. It was an interesting feeling but doing it too often would probably take years off your life!

I read Bleak House as a teenager in not much more than one sitting, maybe eight or ten hours, and I reread War and Peace a few summers ago also just over a couple of days, in three or four longish sessions - an average crime novel c. 75K will probably take me less than two hours to read, and I do like really long novels that will give me better value for money! This is a gift, especially for work purposes, but it is also a curse in terms of the gaping maw always needing to have more things fed into it (I had a shock of recognition when I saw this scene at the end of Fargo - it is a little frightening, but I have never seen a better depiction of my relationship with books!).

One of the things I write about in the style book is the impact of duration on the experience of reading - I think War and Peace at 10 hours is a quite different animal than War and Peace at 50 hours....
Uncategorized

Jet lag/speed read

Alas, I experienced an intense bout of wakefulness after those optimistic last posts - still at the computer rather than winding down, it's 1:30am here and I was really hoping to run in the morning before 9:30am departure for sightseeing. Probably that is not realistic....

But I saw a funny link I had to share....

Brendan Byrne at Rhizome on speed-reading caught my attention anyway - and then I came upon this paragraph:
"If only I'd known about RSVP while in college, I may have actually gotten through all 1,000 pages of Tom Jones," writes Jim Pagels in Slate. The initial impulse to question Pagels' purity of spirit should be quashed. No one can read Tom Jones the way Fielding's initial audience did in 1749 (unless someone were to construct an immersive VR world, complete with memory wipes, to enable full reading-experience). And, indeed, the first page or so of Tom Jones goes down easily enough on Spreeder, if only because it is primarily table-setting. Stick the first couple of paragraphs of The Manifesto of the Communist Party in there, and you'll get the gist, but you begin to see the delicate impact of the loss of subvocalization. The twin delicious names "Metternich and Guizot" cannot be chewed over, nor can the inadvisable nostalgia associated with the phrase "French Radicals and German police-spies" be indulged in, even briefly.
Obviously I had to click through that link - Jim Pagels was my Columbia student, that may well have been my Tom Jones assignment! Here is the underlying link.

I think I am not in agreement with the Byrne commentary - I have never endeavored for speed reading, but I can't remember not knowing how to read and I have always been able to read at a not preternaturally but certainly implausibly fast rate. I can only think of a few times when I actually had to pause after and digest - I remember a spell of daily reading in the Rare Books and Manuscripts room at the British Library when I would request the maximum number of books (fifteen, maybe, or was it only twelve?) per day and basically just go through them all (many were shorter eighteenth-century things like Jethro Tull's The New Horse-Houghing Husbandry, more pamphlet than book) so that I could get my full total of new ones the next day.

It's not quite skimming, it's definitely speed-reading in some sense, and assuming I'm not trying to read something densely philosophical, I can probably under real pressure get through about 2000 pages in 8 hours and have decent recall (this works best when you are reading purposefully, i.e. for research for a book or because you need to write a report on a dossier or similar - for real serious reading i.e. of narrative history or non-theoretical scholarship, 100pp/hr is more realistic, or perhaps more comfortable is the better way of putting it). That particular library session was almost the only time I remember when I didn't read a novel on public transportation on the way home - I was clearly still letting it sink in and sort itself out. It was an interesting feeling but doing it too often would probably take years off your life!

I read Bleak House as a teenager in not much more than one sitting, maybe eight or ten hours, and I reread War and Peace a few summers ago also just over a couple of days, in three or four longish sessions - an average crime novel c. 75K will probably take me less than two hours to read, and I do like really long novels that will give me better value for money! This is a gift, especially for work purposes, but it is also a curse in terms of the gaping maw always needing to have more things fed into it (I had a shock of recognition when I saw this scene at the end of Fargo - it is a little frightening, but I have never seen a better depiction of my relationship with books!).

One of the things I write about in the style book is the impact of duration on the experience of reading - I think War and Peace at 10 hours is a quite different animal than War and Peace at 50 hours....
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Order wrangling

How Thomas Piketty's book was really marketed. Don't believe what you read in the papers! (Link via Ken Wark.)
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Order wrangling

How Thomas Piketty's book was really marketed. Don't believe what you read in the papers! (Link via Ken Wark.)
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Swim and other bits

I have a lot of tab-closing to do, and various updates, but just a few bits for now - I need to wind down and get some sleep.

Had an idyllic day today in Tel Aviv, the first day I have really had to myself for what seems like an impossibly long time. Beautiful walk along the boardwalk (sunburn!). A swim in a gorgeous 50m saltwater pool! Then a great talk on my beloved Kafka aphorisms at the university by Paul North and dinner on an outside terrace in highly congenial company at Suzanna's.

One special link: the obituary for Brent's father.
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May 12, 2014



May 12, 2014

To be perfectly honest with you, I’m bored with drinking.  I had it up to my chin with the drinking culture.  I went to a couple of meetings, that is held at various churches, community halls, and even at bars, before opening time, and I am even bored with these people as well. I’m bored with the subject matter of drinking or not drinking, or even thinking about drinking.  What I need to do is go to a meeting to fight my inner boredom.



It’s funny how people can remember the date and even the weather when they had their last drink.  As for myself, who barely even look at a watch or a calendar, all I remember was having a bottle of red, while reading Edward Lear, and listening to Burt Bacharach’s “Make It Easy On Yourself” album.  The funny thing, is when I had my third glass of wine, I started to realize that I never really liked Burt’s music.  I was brought up by his melodies, due to the AM radio of my youth, but never really took his work at heart.  So me sitting there, drinking the mid-price bottle of wine, it struck me that I need to give up listening to John Cage’s New York City pal, Burt, and focus more on The Small Faces, who by its very nature, spoke to me as a man more than Burt.  Nevertheless, as a work of literature, I always enjoyed reading “The Big Book. ”



 The writing is so-so, but what it says is quite fascinating about the human condition.  Some people are turned off about the theory of The Higher Power, but I on the other hand don’t necessary see it as a black and white issue.  I think the need is to be part of a family.  What, who, or where is not that important, but the need to be part of something that is bigger than you is a very humanistic need, and whatever it is a religion, the AA, a cult, or even a fan club for an artist - it is the need to belong and be part of something.  Most if not all humans need to be part of some version of a family.  I, on the other hand, find those types of relationships boring.



Due to my internal boredom, I have always been attracted to Leslie Charteris’ “The Saint” also known as Simon Templar.  Both the TV series starring Roger Moore as well as the countless novels that I usually picked up used in various parts of the world.  Mostly in garage sales and swap-meets for some odd reason.  Nevertheless, I was attracted to Templar’s need for adventure.  On one end, he is or was regarded as a Robin Hood figure, or in a very distant way, fighting for the good guys in the world.  But what I sense in him is that he was bored, just like me, and was dissatisfied with the idea of being part of any grouping or family.  Just hearing the main TV theme of the series gets my heart pumping.  Also, strangely enough, watching “The Saint” I never feel compelled to have a drink, where in most cases while watching TV, I love to drink.  Oddly I have no memory of the plots, either in the novels or show, but I just recall the character, and I thought if somehow I can be such a person as Simon Templar, the world will be sane and right by my standards.  So in the nutshell, the two most influential men in my life are probably Leslie Charteris and Edward Lear.  Lear, because he had the talent to make up nonsense words, and if nothing else in this world, if I need to be part of a larger grouping or family, then I rather it be something that deals with the word ‘nonsense.



I am also strongly attracted to the works of Joseph Beuys, but mostly due that he was a pilot in World War ll, and was shot down on the Crimson Front.  He asserted that he was kept alive by the Tatar tribesmen who had his body wrapped in animal fat and felt, which eventually nursed him back to health.  Animal fat and felt are the two main items in his artwork that were consistent till his death in 1986.  Some say that he made up this story, but if he believed it, then I’m ok with it.  I can’t bother with denying or being upset with someone’s vision of how they cope with this world.  As Frank Sinatra once said “whatever gets you through the night is OK with me. ”
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Lorine Niedecker

Niedecker_lorineNo layoff from this condensery
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gameraboy: Jack



gameraboy:

Jack

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“By analogy, the opening of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities is nothing but a string of short…”

“By analogy, the opening of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities is nothing but a string of short phrases. Yet no one could contend that this portion of Dickens’ work is unworthy of copyright protection because it can be broken into those shorter constituent components.”

- Judge Kathleen O’Malley compares the short names such as “java.lang.ref” and “java.lang.reflect,” which Oracle uses to name the APIs, to great works of literature - Tech world stunned as court rules Oracle can own APIs, Google loses copyright appeal — Tech News and Analysis
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The Fugitives (3)

fugitives thumbChapter III: The Mischief Maker
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ISS HD Earth Viewing Experiment, ISS HD Earth Viewing Experiment…



ISS HD Earth Viewing Experiment, ISS HD Earth Viewing Experiment NASAtelevision on USTREAM. Science

The High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment aboard the ISS was activated April 30, 2014. It is mounted on the External Payload Facility of the European Space Agency’s Columbus module. This experiment includes several commercial HD video cameras aimed at the earth which are enclosed in a pressurized and temperature controlled housing. Video from these cameras is transmitted back to earth and also streamed live on this channel. While the experiment is operational, views will typically sequence though the different cameras. Between camera switches, a gray and then black color slate will briefly appear. Since the ISS is in darkness during part of each orbit, the images will be dark at those times. During periods of loss of signal with the ground or when HDEV is not operating, a gray color slate or previously recorded video may be seen.
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Bernadette Mayer

bernadette_cropElected to poetry like a fucking nun with a "vocation."
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Crazyboat Viral Posters

In 2011, I lead the team that created a viral campaign for Crazyboat, a Facebook-enabled social video game, one of the first in the space. As a part of the release, I made 4 viral campaign posters that echoed the WPA posters of the 1930s and 40s, and put them up around New York and San Francisco.

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“Transience and the extraordinary variety of breakfasts”

I want to read Sigrid Rausing's nonacademic book about Estonia!
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May 11, 2014


May 11, 2014

I woke up this morning, feeling like it was a brand new day, which technically it is, and therefore decided to give up drinking.  Ten minutes into my day, I realize that I was being silly, and a nice glass of vodka and orange juice to get the day properly started.  There is nothing more perfect than a perfect mixture of orange juice and vodka in a glass, with ice of course, and enjoying this magnificent weather with a book of paintings by Jean-Léon Gérôme on my lap, as I try to measure my thoughts in conjunction with how many sips of the drink I am taking at that moment.  The thing I like most about Gérôme’s paintings are the fact that they are really about nothing.  In many ways, I feel like a tourist, in the middle of my vacation, and just letting the world soak up into my liver.  



The one artist that I can’t stand, is Salvador Dali.  When I look at his work, I think of him how great he is with the brush, and all that technical crap-trap stuff. Gérôme, just gives the looker the straight news, and doesn’t fuss about how wonderful he is.  To this day, I can’t figure out why Dali is so highly regarded in this world.  The very thought of him makes me feel cranky.  I tossed the Gérôme book on the couch and went to the kitchen to prepare a second glass of my breakfast, and tried to figure what I should do for the rest of the day.  Looking at the weather forecast on my I-Phone, it looks like it will be a horrible week of heat, sweat, and lack of sleeping.  But today is extremely beautiful, and I want to take advantage of the morning light and the mild warmth of the sun.  Therefore I looked up what movies were playing this early afternoon. 



For me, the pleasure of perfect weather makes it even more better when you are in a dark movie theater, and seeing your dreams projected on a 35mm projector.  Lucky me, the Cinefamily is showing a retrospective of films starring Kurt Gerron, a German actor, who was famous in the height of the Berlin film world.  He stared in the original Berlin production of “The Three-Penny Opera, singing “Mack The Knife, and was also in “The Blue Angel” with Marlene Dietrich.  Peter Lorre requested him to move to Hollywood, but he refused, and wanted to stay in Europe, which in hindsight, wasn’t that great of an idea, since he was gassed at Auschwitz.  Nevertheless some of his films still exist, and this afternoon they’re going to show “White Slave Traffic” made in Germany in 1926, which by the way is the year that my father was born.   

However, before I go, I need to call up Pete, who is in a band that I’m managing called The High Numbers.   Although the band has been around for the last five or so years, I feel that they need to change their name.   I was thinking of The Low Numbers, because most people identify with being in the last of the line, or losing out in the lottery - so therefore I think the change of name would be good.  If I wasn’t managing him and his band, I think Pete and I would be great friends.  But I have a policy in business by not being friends with your client.  I need to have that objective approach at looking at Pete, and I don’t want to fall under the blanket of friendship.  Also I’m having trouble with his latest song “I Can Explain.” I don’t think teenagers want to hear someone explaining something to them. My god the trials of me being me, and therefore a third glass of my daily medicine and then off to the movies. 

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“Yet how strange a thing is the beauty of music. The brief beauty that the player brings into being…”

“Yet how strange a thing is the beauty of music. The brief beauty that the player brings into being transforms a given period of time into pure continuance; it is certain never to be repeated; like the existence of dayflies and other such short-lived creatures, beauty is a perfect abstraction and creation of life itself. Nothing is so similar to life as music.”

- Yukio Mishima (via likeafieldmouse)
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Mari Sandoz

author-mari-sandoz"Cheyenne Autumn" almost made her famous.
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The Lost Prince (19)

lost-prince

Frances Hodgson Burnett is best known for her sentimental children’s novels Little Lord Fauntleroy (1885-6), A Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden (1911). But HiLoBooks prefers a later Burnett novel: The Lost Prince, a 1915 Ruritanian-style thriller in which two adolescent boys, one of whom is a disabled street urchin called “The Rat,” play a proto-Alternate Reality Game about a revolution in far-off Samavia… which turns into the real thing.

HiLobrow is pleased to serialize The Lost Prince, our first departure from Radium Age science fiction — into adventure fiction. A new installment will appear each week for thirty-one weeks.

ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

***

Chapter 19: “That is One!”

A week had not passed before Marco brought to The Rat in their bedroom an envelope containing a number of slips of paper on each of which was written something.

“This is another part of the game,” he said gravely. “Let us sit down together by the table and study it.”

They sat down and examined what was written on the slips. At the head of each was the name of one of the places with which Marco had connected a face he had sketched. Below were clear and concise directions as to how it was to be reached and the words to be said when each individual was encountered.

“This person is to be found at his stall in the market,” was written of the vacant-faced peasant. “You will first attract his attention by asking the price of something. When he is looking at you, touch your left thumb lightly with the forefinger of your right hand. Then utter in a low distinct tone the words ‘The Lamp is lighted.’ That is all you are to do.”

Sometimes the directions were not quite so simple, but they were all instructions of the same order. The originals of the sketches were to be sought out—always with precaution which should conceal that they were being sought at all, and always in such a manner as would cause an encounter to appear to be mere chance. Then certain words were to be uttered, but always without attracting the attention of any bystander or passer-by.

The boys worked at their task through the entire day. They concentrated all their powers upon it. They wrote and re-wrote—they repeated to each other what they committed to memory as if it were a lesson. Marco worked with the greater ease and more rapidly, because exercise of this order had been his practice and entertainment from his babyhood. The Rat, however, almost kept pace with him, as he had been born with a phenomenal memory and his eagerness and desire were a fury.

But throughout the entire day neither of them once referred to what they were doing as anything but “the game.”

At night, it is true, each found himself lying awake and thinking. It was The Rat who broke the silence from his sofa.

“It is what the messengers of the Secret Party would be ordered to do when they were sent out to give the Sign for the Rising,” he said. “I made that up the first day I invented the party, didn’t I?”

“Yes,” answered Marco.

After a third day’s concentration they knew by heart everything given to them to learn. That night Loristan put them through an examination.

“Can you write these things?” he asked, after each had repeated them and emerged safely from all cross-questioning.

Each boy wrote them correctly from memory.

“Write yours in French — in German — in Russian — in Samavian,” Loristan said to Marco.

“All you have told me to do and to learn is part of myself, Father,” Marco said in the end. “It is part of me, as if it were my hand or my eyes — or my heart.”

“I believe that is true,” answered Loristan.

He was pale that night and there was a shadow on his face. His eyes held a great longing as they rested on Marco. It was a yearning which had a sort of dread in it.

Lazarus also did not seem quite himself. He was red instead of pale, and his movements were uncertain and restless. He cleared his throat nervously at intervals and more than once left his chair as if to look for something.

It was almost midnight when Loristan, standing near Marco, put his arm round his shoulders.

“The Game” — he began, and then was silent a few moments while Marco felt his arm tighten its hold. Both Marco and The Rat felt a hard quick beat in their breasts, and, because of this and because the pause seemed long, Marco spoke.

“The Game — yes, Father?” he said.

“The Game is about to give you work to do — both of you,” Loristan answered.

Lazarus cleared his throat and walked to the easel in the corner of the room. But he only changed the position of a piece of drawing-paper on it and then came back.

“In two days you are to go to Paris — as you,” to The Rat, “planned in the game.”

“As I planned?” The Rat barely breathed the words.

“Yes,” answered Loristan. “The instructions you have learned you will carry out. There is no more to be done than to manage to approach certain persons closely enough to be able to utter certain words to them.”

“Only two young strollers whom no man could suspect,” put in Lazarus in an astonishingly rough and shaky voice. “They could pass near the Emperor himself without danger. The young Master —” his voice became so hoarse that he was obligated to clear it loudly — “the young Master must carry himself less finely. It would be well to shuffle a little and slouch as if he were of the common people.”

“Yes,” said The Rat hastily. “He must do that. I can teach him. He holds his head and his shoulders like a gentleman. He must look like a street lad.”

“I will look like one,” said Marco, with determination.

“I will trust you to remind him,” Loristan said to The Rat, and he said it with gravity. “That will be your charge.”

As he lay upon his pillow that night, it seemed to Marco as if a load had lifted itself from his heart. It was the load of uncertainty and longing. He had so long borne the pain of feeling that he was too young to be allowed to serve in any way. His dreams had never been wild ones — they had in fact always been boyish and modest, howsoever romantic. But now no dream which could have passed through his brain would have seemed so wonderful as this — that the hour had come — the hour had come — and that he, Marco, was to be its messenger. He was to do no dramatic deed and be announced by no flourish of heralds. No one would know what he did. What he achieved could only be attained if he remained obscure and unknown and seemed to every one only a common ordinary boy who knew nothing whatever of important things. But his father had given to him a gift so splendid that he trembled with awe and joy as he thought of it. The Game had become real. He and The Rat were to carry with them The Sign, and it would be like carrying a tiny lamp to set aflame lights which would blaze from one mountain-top to another until half the world seemed on fire.

As he had awakened out of his sleep when Lazarus touched him, so he awakened in the middle of the night again. But he was not aroused by a touch. When he opened his eyes he knew it was a look which had penetrated his sleep — a look in the eyes of his father who was standing by his side. In the road outside there was the utter silence he had noticed the night of the Prince’s first visit — the only light was that of the lamp in the street, but he could see Loristan’s face clearly enough to know that the mere intensity of his gaze had awakened him. The Rat was sleeping profoundly. Loristan spoke in Samavian and under his breath.

“Beloved one,” he said. “You are very young. Because I am your father — just at this hour I can feel nothing else. I have trained you for this through all the years of your life. I am proud of your young maturity and strength but — Beloved — you are a child! Can I do this thing!”

For the moment, his face and his voice were scarcely like his own.

He kneeled by the bedside, and, as he did it, Marco half sitting up caught his hand and held it hard against his breast.

“Father, I know!” he cried under his breath also. “It is true. I am a child but am I not a man also? You yourself said it. I always knew that you were teaching me to be one — for some reason. It was my secret that I knew it. I learned well because I never forgot it. And I learned. Did I not?”

He was so eager that he looked more like a boy than ever. But his young strength and courage were splendid to see. Loristan knew him through and through and read every boyish thought of his.

“Yes,” he answered slowly. “You did your part — and now if I — drew back — you would feel that I had failed youfailed you.”

“You!” Marco breathed it proudly. “You could not fail even the weakest thing in the world.”

There was a moment’s silence in which the two pairs of eyes dwelt on each other with the deepest meaning, and then Loristan rose to his feet.

“The end will be all that our hearts most wish,” he said. “To-morrow you may begin the new part of ‘the Game.’ You may go to Paris.”

When the train which was to meet the boat that crossed from Dover to Calais steamed out of the noisy Charing Cross Station, it carried in a third-class carriage two shabby boys. One of them would have been a handsome lad if he had not carried himself slouchingly and walked with a street lad’s careless shuffling gait. The other was a cripple who moved slowly, and apparently with difficulty, on crutches. There was nothing remarkable or picturesque enough about them to attract attention. They sat in the corner of the carriage and neither talked much nor seemed to be particularly interested in the journey or each other. When they went on board the steamer, they were soon lost among the commoner passengers and in fact found for themselves a secluded place which was not advantageous enough to be wanted by any one else.

“What can such a poor-looking pair of lads be going to Paris for?” some one asked his companion.

“Not for pleasure, certainly; perhaps to get work,” was the casual answer.

In the evening they reached Paris, and Marco led the way to a small cafe in a side-street where they got some cheap food. In the same side-street they found a bed they could share for the night in a tiny room over a baker’s shop.

The Rat was too much excited to be ready to go to bed early. He begged Marco to guide him about the brilliant streets. They went slowly along the broad Avenue des Champs Elysées under the lights glittering among the horse-chestnut trees. The Rat’s sharp eyes took it all in — the light of the cafés among the embowering trees, the many carriages rolling by, the people who loitered and laughed or sat at little tables drinking wine and listening to music, the broad stream of life which flowed on to the Arc de Triomphe and back again.

“It’s brighter and clearer than London,” he said to Marco. “The people look as if they were having more fun than they do in England.”

The Place de la Concorde spreading its stately spaces — a world of illumination, movement, and majestic beauty — held him as though by a fascination. He wanted to stand and stare at it, first from one point of view and then from another. It was bigger and more wonderful than he had been able to picture it when Marco had described it to him and told him of the part it had played in the days of the French Revolution when the guillotine had stood in it and the tumbrils had emptied themselves at the foot of its steps.

Bird's-Eye_View_of_Paris_from_Arch_of_Triumph

He stood near the Obelisk a long time without speaking.

“I can see it all happening,” he said at last, and he pulled Marco away.

Before they returned home, they found their way to a large house which stood in a courtyard. In the iron work of the handsome gates which shut it in was wrought a gilded coronet. The gates were closed and the house was not brightly lighted.

They walked past it and round it without speaking, but, when they neared the entrance for the second time, The Rat said in a low tone:

“She is five feet seven, has black hair, a nose with a high bridge, her eyebrows are black and almost meet across it, she has a pale olive skin and holds her head proudly.”

“That is the one,” Marco answered.

They were a week in Paris and each day passed this big house. There were certain hours when great ladies were more likely to go out and come in than they were at others. Marco knew this, and they managed to be within sight of the house or to pass it at these hours. For two days they saw no sign of the person they wished to see, but one morning the gates were thrown open and they saw flowers and palms being taken in.

“She has been away and is coming back,” said Marco. The next day they passed three times — once at the hour when fashionable women drive out to do their shopping, once at the time when afternoon visiting is most likely to begin, and once when the streets were brilliant with lights and the carriages had begun to roll by to dinner-parties and theaters.

Then, as they stood at a little distance from the iron gates, a carriage drove through them and stopped before the big open door which was thrown open by two tall footmen in splendid livery.

“She is coming out,” said The Rat.

They would be able to see her plainly when she came, because the lights over the entrance were so bright.

Marco slipped from under his coat sleeve a carefully made sketch.

He looked at it and The Rat looked at it.

A footman stood erect on each side of the open door. The footman who sat with the coachman had got down and was waiting by the carriage. Marco and The Rat glanced again with furtive haste at the sketch. A handsome woman appeared upon the threshold. She paused and gave some order to the footman who stood on the right. Then she came out in the full light and got into the carriage which drove out of the courtyard and quite near the place where the two boys waited.

When it was gone, Marco drew a long breath as he tore the sketch into very small pieces indeed. He did not throw them away but put them into his pocket.

The Rat drew a long breath also.

“Yes,” he said positively.

“Yes,” said Marco.

When they were safely shut up in their room over the baker’s shop, they discussed the chances of their being able to pass her in such a way as would seem accidental. Two common boys could not enter the courtyard. There was a back entrance for tradespeople and messengers. When she drove, she would always enter her carriage from the same place. Unless she sometimes walked, they could not approach her. What should be done? The thing was difficult. After they had talked some time, The Rat sat and gnawed his nails.

“To-morrow afternoon,” he broke out at last, “we’ll watch and see if her carriage drives in for her — then, when she comes to the door, I’ll go in and begin to beg. The servant will think I’m a foreigner and don’t know what I’m doing. You can come after me to tell me to come away, because you know better than I do that I shall be ordered out. She may be a good-natured woman and listen to us — and you might get near her.”

“We might try it,” Marco answered. “It might work. We will try it.”

The Rat never failed to treat him as his leader. He had begged Loristan to let him come with Marco as his servant, and his servant he had been more than willing to be. When Loristan had said he should be his aide-de-camp, he had felt his trust lifted to a military dignity which uplifted him with it. As his aide-de-camp he must serve him, watch him, obey his lightest wish, make everything easy for him. Sometimes, Marco was troubled by the way in which he insisted on serving him, this queer, once dictatorial and cantankerous lad who had begun by throwing stones at him.

“You must not wait on me,” he said to him. “I must wait upon myself.”

The Rat rather flushed.

“He told me that he would let me come with you as your aide-de camp,” he said. “It — it’s part of the game. It makes things easier if we keep up the game.”

It would have attracted attention if they had spent too much time in the vicinity of the big house. So it happened that the next afternoon the great lady evidently drove out at an hour when they were not watching for her. They were on their way to try if they could carry out their plan, when, as they walked together along the Rue Royale, The Rat suddenly touched Marco’s elbow.

“The carriage stands before the shop with lace in the windows,” he whispered hurriedly.

Marco saw and recognized it at once. The owner had evidently gone into the shop to buy something. This was a better chance than they had hoped for, and, when they approached the carriage itself, they saw that there was another point in their favor. Inside were no less than three beautiful little Pekingese spaniels that looked exactly alike. They were all trying to look out of the window and were pushing against each other. They were so perfect and so pretty that few people passed by without looking at them. What better excuse could two boys have for lingering about a place?

They stopped and, standing a little distance away, began to look at and discuss them and laugh at their excited little antics. Through the shop-window Marco caught a glimpse of the great lady.

“She does not look much interested. She won’t stay long,” he whispered, and added aloud, “that little one is the master. See how he pushes the others aside! He is stronger than the other two, though he is so small.”

“He can snap, too,” said The Rat.

“She is coming now,” warned Marco, and then laughed aloud as if at the Pekingese, which, catching sight of their mistress at the shop-door, began to leap and yelp for joy.

Their mistress herself smiled, and was smiling as Marco drew near her.

“May we look at them, Madame?” he said in French, and, as she made an amiable gesture of acquiescence and moved toward the carriage with him, he spoke a few words, very low but very distinctly, in Russian.

“The Lamp is lighted,” he said.

The Rat was looking at her keenly, but he did not see her face change at all. What he noticed most throughout their journey was that each person to whom they gave the Sign had complete control over his or her countenance, if there were bystanders, and never betrayed by any change of expression that the words meant anything unusual.

The great lady merely went on smiling, and spoke only of the dogs, allowing Marco and himself to look at them through the window of the carriage as the footman opened the door for her to enter.

“They are beautiful little creatures,” Marco said, lifting his cap, and, as the footman turned away, he uttered his few Russian words once more and moved off without even glancing at the lady again.

“That is one!” he said to The Rat that night before they went to sleep, and with a match he burned the scraps of the sketch he had torn and put into his pocket.

NEXT INSTALLMENT | ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

***

READ GORGEOUS PAPERBACKS: HiLoBooks has reissued the following 10 obscure but amazing Radium Age science fiction novels in beautiful print editions: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague, Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”), Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt, H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook, Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins, William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land, J.D. Beresford’s Goslings, E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man, Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage, and Muriel Jaeger’s The Man with Six Senses. For more information, visit the HiLoBooks homepage.

REDISCOVERED BY HILOBOOKS: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague | Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”) | Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt | H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook | Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins | William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land | J.D. Beresford’s Goslings | E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man | Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage | Muriel Jaeger’s The Man With Six Senses | Jack London’s “The Red One” | Philip Francis Nowlan’s Armageddon 2419 A.D. | Homer Eon Flint’s The Devolutionist | W.E.B. DuBois’s “The Comet” | Edgar Rice Burroughs’s The Moon Men | Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland | Sax Rohmer’s “The Zayat Kiss” | Eimar O’Duffy’s King Goshawk and the Birds | Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Lost Prince | Morley Roberts’s The Fugitives | John Buchan’s Huntingtower

ORIGINAL FICTION: HiLobrow has serialized three novels: James Parker’s The Ballad of Cocky The Fox (“a proof-of-concept that serialization can work on the Internet” — The Atlantic); Karinne Keithley Syers’s Linda Linda Linda (which includes original music); and Robert Waldron’s roman à clef The School on the Fens. We also publish original stories and comics. These include: Matthew Battles’s stories “Gita Nova“, “Makes the Man,” “Imago,” “Camera Lucida,” “A Simple Message”, “Children of the Volcano”, “The Gnomon”, “Billable Memories”, “For Provisional Description of Superficial Features”, “The Dogs in the Trees”, “The Sovereignties of Invention”, and “Survivor: The Island of Dr. Moreau”; several of these later appeared in the collection The Sovereignties of Invention | Peggy Nelson’s “Mood Indigo“, “Top Kill Fail“, and “Mercerism” | Annalee Newitz’s “The Great Oxygen Race” | Charlie Mitchell’s “A Fantasy Land” | Joshua Glenn’s “The Lawless One”, and the mashup story “Zarathustra vs. Swamp Thing” | Adam McGovern and Paolo Leandri’s Idoru Jones comics | John Holbo’s “Sugarplum Squeampunk” | “Another Corporate Death” (1) and “Another Corporate Death” (2) by Mike Fleisch | Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer and Frank Fiorentino’s graphic novel “The Song of Otto” (excerpt) | “Manoj” and “Josh” by Vijay Balakrishnan | “Verge” by Chris Rossi, and his audio novel Low Priority Hero | EPIC WINS: THE ILIAD (1.408-415) by Flourish Klink | EPIC WINS: THE KALEVALA (3.1-278) by James Parker | EPIC WINS: THE ARGONAUTICA (2.815-834) by Joshua Glenn | EPIC WINS: THE MYTH OF THE ELK by Matthew Battles | TROUBLED SUPERHUMAN CONTEST: Charles Pappas, “The Law” | CATASTROPHE CONTEST: Timothy Raymond, “Hem and the Flood” | TELEPATHY CONTEST: Rachel Ellis Adams, “Fatima, Can You Hear Me?” | OIL SPILL CONTEST: A.E. Smith, “Sound Thinking | LITTLE NEMO CAPTION CONTEST: Joe Lyons, “Necronomicon” | SPOOKY-KOOKY CONTEST: Tucker Cummings, “Well Marbled” | INVENT-A-HERO CONTEST: TG Gibbon, “The Firefly” | FANFICTION CONTEST: Lyette Mercier’s “Sex and the Single Superhero”

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Amit Singer on 3d reconstruction

Amit Singer just gave a very cool talk at Wisconsin’s Applied Algebra Day.  Slides from a similar talk he gave at ICERM are here.

Briefly:  the problem is to reconstruct an image (so let’s say a function f in L^2(R^3) measuring density, or potential, or whatever) from a bunch of linear 2d projections.  This is what you get when you try to do cryo-EM on molecules of biological origin; you have no control of how the molecules are oriented, so when you pass a beam through them and record the shape of the “shadow” you get, you’re looking at a projection of the molecule in an unknown direction.  But of course you may have 10,000 of the molecules, so you have 10,000 of these (noisy) projections at a bunch of different angles, and one may hope that this is enough information to reconstruct the original 3d shape!

Suppose f’ is one of these projections.  If F is the Fourier transform of f, and F’ the Fourier transform of f’, then F’ is just the restriction of F to some plane through the origin.

So we have the following problem:  there’s a mystery function F on R^3, and we have a bunch of functions F’_1, .. F’_n on R^2 which are restrictions of F to planes, but we don’t know which planes.  How to reconstruct those planes, and F?

Let G = SO(3).  We can set this problem up as an optimization problem over G^n as follows.  We want to find F and g_1, … g_n in G such that F’_i matches the restriction to the xy-plane of g_i F.

But optimizing over G^n is hard — an essentially exponential problem.  So what Singer and his collaborators do is discretize and convexize the problem in a very clever way.  You put a net of L points on S^2; then every rotation is going to induce (after some rounding) a permutation of these points, i.e. an LxL permutation matrix.  What’s more, n rotations just give you n permutations, which is an L x Ln matrix.

But optimizing over permutation matrices has a nice convex relaxation; the convex hull of the permutation matrices is the polytope of doubly stochastic matrices, which is very manageable.  It gets better:  a general permutation of the witness points on the sphere, of course, looks nothing at all like a rotation.  But the fact that a rotation preserves distances means that the corresponding permutation approximately commutes with the LxL covariance matrix of the points; this is a linear condition on the permutation matrices, so we end up optimizing over a linear slice of the doubly stochastic matrices.  And the point is that the difficulty now scales polynomially in n instead of exponentially.  Very nice!  (Of course, you also have to show that the cost function you’re actually optimizing can be made linear in this setup.)

Idle question:  how essential is the discretization?  In other words, is there a way to optimize directly over the convex hull of SO(3)^n, an object I know people like Bernd Sturmfels like to think about?

 


Uncategorized

Amit Singer on 3d reconstruction

Amit Singer just gave a very cool talk at Wisconsin’s Applied Algebra Day.  Slides from a similar talk he gave at ICERM are here.

Briefly:  the problem is to reconstruct an image (so let’s say a function f in L^2(R^3) measuring density, or potential, or whatever) from a bunch of linear 2d projections.  This is what you get when you try to do cryo-EM on molecules of biological origin; you have no control of how the molecules are oriented, so when you pass a beam through them and record the shape of the “shadow” you get, you’re looking at a projection of the molecule in an unknown direction.  But of course you may have 10,000 of the molecules, so you have 10,000 of these (noisy) projections at a bunch of different angles, and one may hope that this is enough information to reconstruct the original 3d shape!

Suppose f’ is one of these projections.  If F is the Fourier transform of f, and F’ the Fourier transform of f’, then F’ is just the restriction of F to some plane through the origin.

So we have the following problem:  there’s a mystery function F on R^3, and we have a bunch of functions F’_1, .. F’_n on R^2 which are restrictions of F to planes, but we don’t know which planes.  How to reconstruct those planes, and F?

Let G = SO(3).  We can set this problem up as an optimization problem over G^n as follows.  We want to find F and g_1, … g_n in G such that F’_i matches the restriction to the xy-plane of g_i F.

But optimizing over G^n is hard — an essentially exponential problem.  So what Singer and his collaborators do is discretize and convexize the problem in a very clever way.  You put a net of L points on S^2; then every rotation is going to induce (after some rounding) a permutation of these points, i.e. an LxL permutation matrix.  What’s more, n rotations just give you n permutations, which is an L x Ln matrix.

But optimizing over permutation matrices has a nice convex relaxation; the convex hull of the permutation matrices is the polytope of doubly stochastic matrices, which is very manageable.  It gets better:  a general permutation of the witness points on the sphere, of course, looks nothing at all like a rotation.  But the fact that a rotation preserves distances means that the corresponding permutation approximately commutes with the LxL covariance matrix of the points; this is a linear condition on the permutation matrices, so we end up optimizing over a linear slice of the doubly stochastic matrices.  And the point is that the difficulty now scales polynomially in n instead of exponentially.  Very nice!  (Of course, you also have to show that the cost function you’re actually optimizing can be made linear in this setup.)

Idle question:  how essential is the discretization?  In other words, is there a way to optimize directly over the convex hull of SO(3)^n, an object I know people like Bernd Sturmfels like to think about?

 


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May 10, 2014



May 10, 2014

In theory, I don’t care for rioting, unless it was just for aesthetic reasons.  The Astor Place Riot that took place in 1849, started when two famous Shakespearean actors argued who was best to play in the Bard’s plays.  American actor Edwin Forrest (1806-1872 and the British actor William Macready (1793-1873) had a running feud, and both were extremely well-known actors in Shakespeare’s theater. Due to this feud, 120 were injured, and at least 25 were killed in this riot. This was the first time that in an American riot where a state militia was called in, and they actually shot into a crowd.



In the mid-nineteenth century, it was the British who dominated the American theater, and Edwin Forrest was one of the first American actors to do major roles in Shakespeare’s plays.  Eventually, what was a difference of opinion regarding to input one’s culture into another, became a huge subject matter for Americans.  Over time, the American theater scene started to resent the Briitsh influence over their own national theater.   Over time, British actors who were touring in America had it rough with the American audience.  Shakespeare in America went through every class in America during the nineteenth century.  It seemed that the great populace was super aware of his work, and often various groupings would recite his work to each other, as well as his work being very much part of the pop culture of that time.


Macready and Forrest were once friends, but became enemies when the argument reached a feverish pitch in the American and British media.  Forrest challenged Macready directly, by following his tour in America and doing the same plays, to show the audience who is a better actor in Shakespeare's plays.   When Forrest went to London, to see Macready play “Hamlet, ’ he hissed at the British actor from his seat in the audience.  Macready commented that Forrest 'lacked taste."   When Macready came to America for another tour, he faced hostility from the audience.   There was even a report that someone in the audience threw the carcass of half a dead sheep on the stage, while he performed on stage.   Around the same time, Forrest proceeds with a divorce against his British wife for immoral conduct, but the verdict came down against Forrest on the same day that Macready came to New York City.



What is set-up here is a major difference between the British and American sensibility, especially in New York City.  Forrest was quite popular with the gangs of New York, where he performed Shakespeare at the near-by Bowery Theater, which catered to a working-class audience.   The Astor Place Opera House was built for the upper-class who didn't want to associate themselves with the lower or middle-class theater audience.   Shakespeare appealed to both classes, but Forrest gave it an "American" spin, while Macready did of course, a more British subdued style.   Either by chance or design, on the same night and the same play, "Macbeth," Macready had his performance at the Astor Place Opera House, and Forrest did his "Macbeth" at the Bowery Theater, a couple of miles away.    During Macready's performance, a group of fans of Forrest, purchased tickets to the upper balcony of the theater and threw rotten fruit towards the stage while he performed.   Meanwhile at the Bowery, when Forrest recited Macbeth's line "What rhubarb, senna or what purgative drug will scour these English hence,?" the crowd stood up and roared their approval.

When Macready appeared for his next appearance at the opera house, the riot exploded.  There were at least 10,000 people outside the theater.    About 21 to 31 rioters were killed and approximately 48 were wounded.   At least 70 policemen were injured as well.  Nevertheless, during the rioting, even as people were trying to burn down the theater, Macready did his full performance and then disguising himself, left and escaped from the crowd.  The most interesting observation I have read about the riot is that Sigmund Freud commented that the theater goers "rioted over whether "Hamlet" should be a feminine or masculine character."  At this point and time, history hasn't told us yet, regarding that burning question.
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Photo



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fuckinrecordreviews: “…some of this would be…





fuckinrecordreviews:

"…some of this would be really embarrassing if it weren’t so good. Fury, total joy and something approaching meditation (don’t believe it), none of this sounds as ‘tho it was recorded for any reason other than wanting to see what it sounded like 1 hour later…can’t argue with that."

CONFLICT 49 Winter 1989 (page healthy sick)

SEBADOH review by GERARD COSLOY, Editor

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Pluperfect PDA (14)

Fourteenth in an occasional series.

widow

He’s teaching his wife to swipe her finger on the tablet computer; or perhaps that’s a phablet?

Ringtone: “Auf Wiederseh’n Sweetheart”

***

READ MORE by Joshua Glenn, originally published in: THE BAFFLER | BOSTON GLOBE IDEAS | BRAINIAC | CABINET | FEED | HERMENAUT | HILOBROW | HILOBROW: GENERATIONS | HILOBROW: RADIUM AGE SCIENCE FICTION | HILOBROW: SHOCKING BLOCKING | THE IDLER | IO9 | N+1 | NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW | SEMIONAUT | SLATE

Joshua Glenn’s books include UNBORED: THE ESSENTIAL FIELD GUIDE TO SERIOUS FUN (with Elizabeth Foy Larsen); and SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS: 100 EXTRAORDINARY STORIES ABOUT ORDINARY THINGS (with Rob Walker).

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thingsmagazine: Worlds Airports Voronoi Diagram (via)



thingsmagazine:

Worlds Airports Voronoi Diagram (via)

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May 9, 2014



May 9, 2014

I was reading a biography on J.M. Barrie, the author of “Peter Pan, ” and the origins of that narrative is highly interesting.  His mother took over her deceased mother’s household when she was eight, and therefore probably didn’t have a normal childhood.  Many years later, when Barrie was 6 years old, his older brother, David, was killed in a skating accident when he was 14.  David was the mother’s favorite child of the eight children that she gave to the world.  The one thing that made her happy was that David will never grow older and therefore never leave her.  She would dress Barrie in David’s old clothes, and he would even whistle a tune that David did when alive. An existing passport exposed that J.M. Barrie, as a grown adult, was only 5 feet and two inches.  Charles Baudelaire wrote that "Genius is no more than childhood recaptured at will."  Barrie, without doubt, had an understanding of the nature of children and how they see the world through the point-of-view of being reconciled with adulthood.


On the opposite end, Baldur von Schirach wanted to squash childhood for the “state” or empire that was therefore the theory of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party.  His “Hitler Youth” basically was a nightmare version of the Boy Scouts (which, to be fair, have their own issues), but its only mission was to train youth to be adults in the Nazi idea of being citizens of the empire.  Schirach encouraged bullying, spying, and any group that uses the motto Blut ind Ehre (“Blood and Honor”) you know is very far away from the theory of Barrie, regarding lost childhood.  It is taboo to mess with a child's innocence, but one wonder if such innocnece really exist in the first place.  The world in front of us, is anything but innocent, and I think children are wise to the fact that there are numerous worlds operating at the same time. It now comes to mind, the movement behind the White Rose, which was a non-violent German resistance to Hitler and his regime.  The beautiful (in a sense, my Wendy) Sophie Scholl was a member of the White Rose, and eventually she was caught and executed by the Nazis. She died when she was 21, and I often think that is such a crucial age where youth turns into an adult.  Like what the Nazis did to its own youth, they also killed its one bright light, and therefore it is a beauty that can’t die for me.

 I know, as a fact, that I was afraid to grow up, because I realize that childhood for me was a sense of protection.   When one came to a certain age, the world becomes real, sometimes horribly real.  It is luck, and the narrative of history, that I didn't have to go to the Vietnam war.   The draft got pulled back just as I reached the age of 18 years old.  But I clearly remember the anxiety of the thought of turning 18, and what that would entail for my life at the time.  "Peter Pan" had a special appeal for me around the age of 16.

On one end, I wanted to have a life that was similar to Gabriele D’Annunzio.  I didn’t like the war part, but I loved the thought of him as the King of decadents, and I even admired his ‘dandyish’ take on warfare.  The Vietnam war to me, seemed very un-dandy like, and therefore turned me off on military aesthetics or anything that go into the war machinery.   But I did admire that D’Annunzio wrote poetry as a teenager, and his interest at that time in promoting Italian irredentism, which was a nationalistic approach to Italy, where the unification of Italian speaking peoples and territories deemed to be Italian lands.   Bear in mind this is a teenager's view of the world, and my admiration for him is only skin-deep.   When the world lacked romance at such a young age, one tends to be pulled by a figure like D'Annunzio, who didn't honestly seem to bring a promise, but more to the fact that he will burn as he moves closer to the sun.  Nevertheless one enjoys the thought of heading towards the Sun to challenge its might.


The truth is childhood slowly or quickly turns into Albert Finney’s fascinating character, Arthur Seaton, in the film “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning,”  who is a young machinist at a Nottingham factory, and slowly sees the world of his youth turn into an adult nightmare.  He rebels against the world by drinking and fucking on the weekend, but by the rules of the culture, he must serve as a tool in the work-week.  Eventually to follow the footsteps of his parents, in other words, older people to do what they have to do to live in a world that is so far away from childhood.  Also I admire another British writer, Alan Bennett, whose play "The History Boys" captures the twilight years of young turning into old.  As I approach my older age, I think in all honesty, I prefer the world of Peter Pan and Neverland.   I enjoy the thought of youth, but I wish to be 'adult' about it.

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firsthead: Pink eye. Again.



firsthead:

Pink eye. Again.

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polychroniadis: Εarthquake recovery shelter by Luna Perschl



polychroniadis:

Εarthquake recovery shelter by Luna Perschl

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Code-X (5)

gorbachev

Call this market/cultural category code: To the Victor Belong the Spoils. Call the category: Premium-ness.

Definition: To the Victor Belong the Spoils coding is about power. You’ve earned the best, and nobody can take it away from you. Brand a means to radiate authority — render your position at the top of the heap unquestionable.

dior

Notes on this code: Authoritative, Powerful (“100% wool. Because the sheep have always done your bidding.”) Use of powerful figures like Gorbachev. Men half-reclining like Roman emperors; alluring women shown wearing jewels presumably given them by their wealthy lovers.

harleys wool

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SERIES INTRODUCTION | ALL POSTS IN THIS SERIES

MORE SEMIOSIS at HILOBROW: The Double Exposure Series | Star Wars Semiotics | Icon Game | Meet the Semionauts | Show Me the Molecule | Science Fantasy | Inscribed Upon the Body | The Abductive Method | Enter the Samurai | Semionauts at Work | Roland Barthes as HiLo Hero | Gilles Deleuze as HiLo Hero | Félix Guattari as HiLo Hero | Jacques Lacan as HiLo Hero | Mikhail Bakhtin as HiLo Hero | Umberto Eco as HiLo Hero

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May 8, 2014



May 8, 2014

The beauty of Tom of Finland is that he doesn’t exist to me.  What exists is in his world.  Wittgenstein wrote that ‘the limits of my language means the limits of my world.” Tom of Finland had set a strict boundary where there is his world, and then ….Nothing.   For those in the nothing, we wander into his world, and therefore we have everything that we can possibly want or hope for.

As a heterosexual, I am disappointed that my world is not so closed off as his utopia that is expressed in Tom of Finland’s art. I’m not even sure if it is even ‘art’ as we know it, but more of a self-expression that is acceptable to the few and only for the few.  Which to me is the definition of utopia.  What I like about Tom’s work is that it is not explicit in action, but more by a thought of something erotic will happen.  The voyeur aspect of his work is part of taking a walk in the woods, and as we all know the deep forest is a walk through a sexual landscape.

There is a beauty of “the mystery” that is reflected in his work, but maybe it is only a ‘mystery” to me, because I don’t share that specific sexuality.   I can admire Eric Stanton’s cartoons of heterosexual bondage and fetishism, but it's not erotic to me.  Tom of Finland is erotic.  The way he portrays nature as serving the erotic is among the images that gives me so such pleasure.  The locations are sometimes in the imaginary west or in a park, perhaps, which due to its very nature is an erogenous zone.  I think any area where nature is cut-off from the world is of course a fetish territory.

As a teenager I would go to the renaissance faire, that usually took place in some rural area outside of Los Angeles.  What I loved was going with girls who I went to school with, but once in the faire, they become downright erotic objects to me.  At first I thought it was their clothing, which was to imitate the 14th century, but no, it had more to do that all of this was taking place in nature.   The girls weren’t the one’s that arouse me directly, but the fact that they were enclosed in that environment.



The fiction of Thomas Pynchon, on the other hand, even though one gets a clear picture of the location in his work, it is rarely, if ever erotic.  When I read his works, I feel like a child entering a three-story toy store, and everything looks fantastic and I want it all.  Tom of Finland doesn’t offer everything, because his world is very closed, and so was the renaissance faire.  I really wanted those girls, but only, in that space and a specific time.

Perhaps it is only a matter of control, and allowing certain aspects or parts of that control to slowly be released over a period of time.  Time to me is also erotic.  Due to the fact that schedules and deadlines have a certain amount of pleasure and pain attached to the process.  When I see a Tom of Finland drawing, I am not aware of time foresee, but I’m conscious of its absence, which makes me think of time.  Which, of course, is erotic to me.



As a child, I would watch “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, ” mostly due to their son, Ricky Nelson.  The show is totally boring to me, but the odd thing is when Ricky sings, it becomes another world that is totally blocked off from the rest of the show.  It makes sense as a narration in the show, but whenever I see Ricky singing in the context of the series, I feel he’s in another space or world than his parents or anything else on that particular TV show.  Which got me thinking that perhaps he has another life that is not expressed on that series.  When I see pictures of him, his eyes have a tendency to tell another tale.  Something mysterious, dreamy, and sensual.  I do carry a passport that will enable me to visit other countries, but what I really desire is a document of some sort that will allow me to visit ‘areas’ that I fantasize.   I wish to travel with Robert Johnson, and with him as my guide, I want him to lead me to that fork in the road.   With anticipated hope, he will push me towards a specific direction.


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Thomas Pynchon

pynchon-thomas-gravity

“Hey, Pensiero, you know whut an Eye-talian submarine sounds like, on dat new sonar? Huh?” one American soldier asks another, Eddie, a benny-popping barber meticulously cutting his Colonel’s hair in Gravity’s Rainbow by THOMAS PYNCHON (born 1937). “Uh… what?” “Pinnnguinnnea-guinea-guinea wopwopwop! Dat’s whut! Yuk, yuk, yuk!” Hidden in this ethnic joke is E di pensiero, a line from Rigoletto, a sly Verdian nod in a work so Wagnerian, “If you can’t sing Siegfried, at least you can carry a spear” is its pithiest apothegm. Size does matter, though — velleity can’t achieve liebestod — and here too Pynchon delivers. “The prose was gorgeous,” opined eminent editor Gerald Howard for Bookforum three decades after he first read the novel, “with a density of allusion and implication and hyperalertness that almost no one writing today would even attempt, let alone pull off.” As for Pynchon’s epic forebears — Dreiser, Dos Passos, Gaddis — it’s Melville, from Moby Dick through The Confidence Man, who most predicts… what exactly? A military comedy, a corporate espionage tale, a wicked sex romp, a doper’s movie musical about colonialism, zoot suits, dodo birds and many displaced persons — Puritans, hereros, gauchos, kamikazes, homosexuals, Jews. Horrified rocket engineer Franz Pökler wordlessly comforts a Dora concentration camp survivor, placing his gold wedding ring on her finger, “If she lived…” Composer Anton Webern is shot, “accidental if you believe in accidents.” AWOL Seaman Pig Bodine gives ailing anti-hero Tyrone Slothrop an undershirt stained with John Dillinger’s blood for protection, “This thing here works. Really does.”

***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Edmund Wilson, Tristan Jones, Gary Snyder, Roberto Rossellini, Don Rickles.

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

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Welcome to dress like a pirate week at LA Crone, in honor of my…



Welcome to dress like a pirate week at LA Crone, in honor of my mum’s post cataract surgery eye dressing.

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File X (27)

Here’s another vintage paperback whose title includes a free-standing “X.”

Click here to view my entire collection; and click here to peruse the Collector’s Guide.

the x people

The “X” People (1953), by Vektis Brack.

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MORE LIT LISTS FROM THIS AUTHOR: Index to All Adventure Lists | Best 19th Century Adventure (1805–1903) | Best Nineteen-Oughts Adventure (1904–13) | Best Nineteen-Teens Adventure (1914–23) | Best Twenties Adventure (1924–33) | Best Thirties Adventure (1934–43) | Best Forties Adventure (1944–53) | Best Fifties Adventure (1954–63) | Best Sixties Adventure (1964–73) | Best Seventies Adventure (1974–83) | 101 Science Fiction | 70 Crime | 65 Fantasy | 60 Espionage | 40 Atavistic & Historical | 25 Frontier & Western | 20 Avenger & Artful Dodger | 20 Apophenic & Treasure Hunt | 20 War & Ruritanian | 18 Picaresque | 11 Robinsonade & Survival. ALSO: Best YA Fiction of 1963 | Best Older Kids’ Lit 1964 | 10 Best 1964 Adventures | Best Scottish Fabulists | Radium-Age Telepath Lit | Radium Age Superman Lit | Radium Age Robot Lit | Radium Age Apocalypse Lit | Radium Age Eco-Catastrophe Lit | Radium Age Cover Art (1) | SF’s Best Year Ever: 1912 | Cold War “X” Fic | Best YA Sci-Fi | Hooker Lit | No-Fault Eco-Catastrophe Lit | Scrabble Lit |

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designedconflictterritories: “If there is a single word to…



designedconflictterritories:

"If there is a single word to describe Google, it is „absolute.” The Britannica defines absolutism as a system in which „the ruling power is not subject to regularized challenge or check by any other agency.”  In ordinary affairs, absolutism is a moral attitude in which values and principles are regarded as unchallengeable and universal. There is no relativism, context-dependence, or openness to change.

Six years ago I asked Eric Schmidt what corporate innovations Google was putting in place to ensure that its interests were aligned with its end users. Would it betray their trust?  Back then his answer stunned me. He and Google’s founders control the super-voting class B stock. This allows them, he explained, to make decisions without regard to short-term pressure from Wall Street. Of course, it also insulates them from every other kind of influence. There was no wrestling with the creation of an inclusive, trustworthy, and transparent governance system.  There was no struggle to institutionalize scrutiny and feedback.  Instead Schmidt’s answer was the quintessence of absolutism: „trust me; I know best.” At that moment I knew I was in the presence of something new and dangerous whose effects reached beyond narrow economic contests and into the heart of everyday life.”

Dark Google

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Don Rickles

rickles-don1

Five-foot-six and drawn entirely with lopsided circles, DON RICKLES (born 1926) has the head of a turtle and the heart of the Grim Reaper. That’s the story anyway, and he’s spent nearly seven decades cementing that reputation onstage. They say he’s a sweetheart offstage — a mensch and a mama’s boy, married nearly 50 years to the same long-suffering woman — but I don’t love him because he’s so great at loving his family. I love him because he’s so great at hating everyone else.

Rickles’ is a high-wire kind of funny. Most of it doesn’t translate very well on paper, where it just reads as mean. And it is mean. But it’s not an angry mean, nor is it funny because it’s mean. It’s funny because it’s delivered with needle-sharp timing, with shrugs and sighs and side-glances and eye rolls that make it all float. Yes, his jokes are bigoted and sexist and homophobic, but that misses the point. As Chris Rock put it, “Oh, it’s very offensive, but not if you’re into comedy.” Context matters.

That’s a hard one to learn. Barely a week passes without some public idiot eating his own shoe leather because he doesn’t understand that simple fact. Context matters, as do intent and timing and delivery. Sometimes all it takes is a headshake to turn a manifestly racist one-liner into comedy gold. It’s just gotta be a damn good headshake.

***

HUMORISTS at HILOBROW: Michael O’Donoghue | Jemaine Clement | Andy Kaufman | Danny Kaye | George Ade | Jimmy Durante | Jack Benny | Aziz Ansari | Don Rickles | Godfrey Cambridge | Eric Idle | David Cross | Stewart Lee | Samuel Beckett | Jerry Lewis | Joanna Lumley | Jerome K. Jerome | Phil Silvers | Edward Lear | Tony Hancock | George Carlin | Stephen Colbert | Tina Fey | Keith Allen | Russell Brand | Michael Cera | Stan Laurel | Ricky Gervais | Gilda Radner | Larry David | Chris Pontius | Dave Chappelle | Jimmy Finlayson | Paul Reubens | Peter Sellers | Buster Keaton | Flann O’Brien | Lenny Bruce | Sacha Baron Cohen | Steve Coogan | PG Wodehouse | A.J. Liebling | Curly Howard | Fran Lebowitz | Charlie Kaufman | Stephen Merchant | Richard Pryor | James Thurber | Bill Hicks | ALSO: Comedy and the Death of God

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Gary Snyder, Roberto Rossellini, Edmund Wilson, Tristan Jones, Thomas Pynchon.

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

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Boyer: curves with real multiplication over subcyclotomic fields

A long time ago, inspired by a paper of Mestre constructing genus 2 curves whose Jacobians had real multiplication by Q(sqrt(5)), I wrote a paper showing the existence of continuous families of curves X whose Jacobians had real multiplication by various abelian extensions of Q.  I constructed these curves as branched covers with prescribed ramification, which is to say I had no real way of presenting them explicitly at all.  I just saw a nice preprint by Ivan Boyer, a recent Ph.D. student of Mestre, which takes all the curves I construct and computes explicit equations for them!  I wouldn’t have thought this was doable (in particular, I never thought about whether the families in my construction were rational.) For instance, for any value of the parameter s, the genus 3 curve

2v + u^3 + (u+1)^2 + s((u^2 + v)^2 - v(u+v)(2u^2 - uv + 2v))

has real multiplication by the real subfield of \mathbf{Q}(\zeta_7).  Cool!


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