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Monday, November 27, 2006
I NEVER IMAGINED ANYTHING THIS UGLY
posted
12:26 PM
"...seems like everyone had to take a course in the imagery of William Gibson in order to enter...."

Saturday, November 25, 2006
"MAKING ORDINARY THINGS ORDINARY"
posted
3:39 PM
I've never seen a Loopwheeler sweatshirt, but this tour of their manufacturing process has me sold.

Such a perfectly simple philosophy, yet how difficult (indeed, how splendidly impractical) it is to actually produce such "ordinary" things. But "ordinary" in this sense means something like "the things of which most other things have become simulacra". Almost all denim jeans, for instance, are now simulacra of "ordinary" denim jeans, which have become almost impossible to find (as new product). The simulacra-ization of jeans now means that the "distressing" process (faking the result of "ordinariness" + wear) probably takes longer than the actual manufacturing, something I find quite spooky. The downside of making something in the "ordinary" way is that the "ordinary" product winds up being quite expensive, by virtue of how genuinely difficult it is to make -- though still not as expensive as high-end "designer" products that we're expected to pay a great deal for by virtue of their supposed remarkable unordinariness. Yet the "ordinary" garment invariably possesses a higher literal unordinariness quotient. The odds of your finding the "ordinary" at the mall are nil, and there aren't even any Loopwheeler products on eBay today (I just checked).

Saturday, November 18, 2006
ZADIE SMITH ON THE PRACTICE OF READING
posted
7:49 PM
From an interview with novelist Zadie Smith on KCRW's Bookworm program (and gleefully lifted, by me, straight out of BoingBoing):

"But the problem with readers, the idea we’re given of reading is that the model of a reader is the person watching a film, or watching television. So the greatest principle is, 'I should sit here and I should be entertained.' And the more classical model, which has been completely taken away, is the idea of a reader as an amateur musician. An amateur musician who sits at the piano, has a piece of music, which is the work, made by somebody they don’t know, who they probably couldn’t comprehend entirely, and they have to use their skills to play this piece of music. The greater the skill, the greater the gift that you give the artist and that the artist gives you. That’s the incredibly unfashionable idea of reading. And yet when you practice reading, and you work at a text, it can only give you what you put into it. It’s an old moral, but it’s completely true."

I would add that talented writers begin as talent readers, though I've scarcely heard it remarked upon.

The two activities are not only fundamentally similar, they're the necessary halves of a single human activity.

The reader completes the arc.

If there is no reader, there is no text.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006
THE PRICE OF RITUAL PURITY
posted
10:39 PM
From the Who Knew? department, several thousand years later...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006
FAITH IN HIS FIGURES
posted
7:02 PM
"Rove thought the polls were obsolete because they relied on home telephones in an age of do-not-call lists and cell phones. Based on his models, he forecast a loss of 12 to 14 seats in the House—enough to hang on to the majority. Rove placed so much faith in his figures that, after the elections, he planned to convene a panel of Republican political scientists—to study just how wrong the polls were."

--MSNBC

Genius.

ROTTING THE LITERAL FABRIC OF THE GERMAN ECONOMY
posted
3:26 PM
If you made this up...

Monday, November 13, 2006
*I* LIKE FULDOG
posted
8:38 PM
"There used to be an old guy out on 66 hadda shrine to Fuldog. Found stuff mostly. A napkin. A tuft of hair (it was the right color and of a believable length). Flowers and Christmas tree lights and beads surrounding the gilded frame, which itself surrounded the beloved but faded pic of Fuldog."

--Trogdor

SPIDER GIRLS
posted
1:58 PM
Meanwhile, in the gardens of Santiago ...

Saturday, November 11, 2006
IN THE SEA OF STONES
posted
9:03 PM
Yacht photographs formation of volcanic Pacific island.

JACK WILLIAMSON, R.I.P.
posted
9:02 AM
What an absolutely lovely man he was.

REMEMBRANCE DAY
posted
8:17 AM
The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

by Randall Jarrell

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

"A ball turret was a Plexiglas sphere set into the belly of a B-17 or B-24, and inhabited by two .50 caliber machine-guns and one man, a short small man. When this gunner tracked with his machine guns a fighter attacking his bomber from below, he revolved with the turret; hunched upside-down in his little sphere, he looked like the foetus in the womb. The fighters which attacked him were armed with cannon firing explosive shells. The hose was a steam hose." -- Jarrell's note.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006
SMILEY SMILE
posted
6:52 AM
"Oh my god. I can't believe it. I never expected this. Britney Spears filed for divorce today." --Digby

Saturday, November 04, 2006
"PHOENIX"
posted
12:05 AM
A viral fossil . Spooky.

Thursday, November 02, 2006
ANOTHER LIBERAL SCIENCE PLOT TO DEPRESS THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF EVERYONE
posted
6:18 PM
Why do liberal scientists keep coming up with these total *bummer* pronouncements?

For one thing, they're obviously doing it to distract us from the good news out of Iraq.

For another, it patently isn't true that humans are causing this. This obviously isn't androgenic. It just happens in cycles. Like global warming.

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