December 18, 2010

Blue Mussels, Moon Snails

 

Trollhättan, Hinsdale, Taipei, Schererville

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There's something you don't see every day:  "Poet Astrid Lorange, in the new issue of the online magazine Sustainable Aircraft, articulates a provisional “poetics of spanking.”

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Late Night Jokes
 

It’s Larry King’s final night after a long career. Larry’s very first interview question was, “Why only 10 commandments?”

There’s only a week left to finish your Christmas shopping. Or as most guys look at it, “There's a whole week left to start my Christmas shopping.”

The Obamas had their dog, Bo, sign their Christmas card this year with a paw print. But Bo only agreed to do it after Obama agreed to extend the Bush-era treats policy.

Several TSA officers have formed a holiday choir at the Los Angeles International Airport. Which, of course, answers the question: How can going through airport security possibly get any worse?

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I like this time of year because BoingBoing starts featuring interesting Christmas gifts, like Badass Lego Guns, zombie-attack hoodies, split-pea lighters, and Gotham City rings.

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Everybody is talking about Google Ngram Viewer, that lets you track the popularity of words and phrases over the past 200 years.  I put in "carpentry porn", a phrase Cory used to describe a self-powered table saw, but nada.  Food porn got a few hits.  The whole "<fill-in-a-noun> porn" seems like a meme that deserves to die, but it may now be ensconced.

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Mitt Romney as the Olive Garden Candidate:

I sometimes imagine that Romney approaches politics in the same spirit that the CEO of Darden Restaurants approaches cuisine. Darden owns Olive Garden, Longhorn steakhouses, and Red Lobster among other chains. Now suppose that Darden’s data show a decline in demand for mid-priced steak restaurants and a rising response to Italian family dining. Suppose they convert some of their Longhorn outlets to Olive Gardens. Is that “flip-flopping”? Or is that giving people what they want for their money?

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I bought new blue jeans the way I usually do:  grabbed a handful of neither straight-legged or "extra relaxed" in two different waist sizes (no, not telling), proceeded to the dressing room and rapidly tried them on in succession, picked two, paid.  Whole thing:  8 minutes.  What I always find interesting is that the more expensive brands are much more lenient in their waist sizes.  I suppose you have to pay to have your waist size exaggerated downward on the back tab.

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I gave $25 to Wikipedia today because Jimmy Wales kept asking me to, and I guess I do use it enough to chip in..  Today, an article about the first Wikipedia entries:

In fact, according to Ethan Zuckerman, a full 15% percent of the earliest Wikipedia articles dealt with Atlas Shrugged.

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More "Why your waiter hates you".

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If you need an ER, avoid TV hospitals.

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Somehow, Roxane seems like a good antidote to BoingBoing geekiness:

A few days ago, my cell phone went inexplicably dark. It wouldn’t power up, even after some time charging. I began to panic. What would I do? How would I be able to reach people and receive booty texts and engage in passive aggressive arguments? I vowed to buy some sort of Jitterbug level back up phone if only my phone would start working again. It did not. Then, I left it alone, went to another room, tried not to obsess but really all I could think was, “My phone was broken! Life is over.” Then, I had an idea. I went back to my phone and stared it down. I thought, “I will not be broken by an electronic device.” I resisted cellphones for years and this is what it has come to. Finally, I did what I often do when things stop working. I hit it against a hard surface. Miraculously, the phone powered up like nothing had gone wrong. My point is this: sometimes violence solves problems.

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Or, as The Onion horoscope for Taurus says:  "Although it's true that violence never solves anything, it turns out it's just fine for a quick temporary fix in many situations."

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Not something you'd expect from the American Conservative:

In his soul-searching, illuminating, and often depressing look at the unholy ménage of Demos, Leviathan, and Mars, Tom Englehardt probes deeply into the war culture of Washington, D.C. He notes that only two positions have any real voice in contemporary public-policy debate: those who want more of this and those who want more of that. The key word is “more.” As Englehardt writes, when it comes to conflict overseas “however contentious the disputes in Washington, however dismally the public viewed the war, however much the president’s war coalition might threaten to crack open, the only choices were between more and more.” More drones, more troops, more nation-building.

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Breakage
  -- Mary Oliver

I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam,
the opened, blue mussels,
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred—
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split,
dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone.
It's like a schoolhouse
of little words,
thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
full of moonlight.

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.

December 17, 2010

Christmas Check

 

Bogotá, Dumfries, Horley, Moscow (Idaho)

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From Richard, the Really Super 8 desk clerk:  Plus Jell-O with Tiny Marshmallows

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Late Night Jokes
 

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been named Time magazine's Person of the Year. They said he has single-handedly changed the way we waste time at work.

 President Obama met with the CEOs of top companies about creating more jobs for Americans. After the meeting, the CEOs went home to China.

The Golden Globes will have an unusual category this year: “Outstanding Performance by an Animal Killed by Sarah Palin.”

It’s so cold in New York right now that people are flipping each other the mitten.

It’s a good thing it doesn’t snow in Los Angeles. Could you imagine Lindsay Lohan driving on ice?

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Jamie uses Facebook too much.  On the other hand, I don't use it enough.  For a while, I was "telling everyone what I was doing", but it occurred to me that it wasn't actually that interesting.  And I don't do Farmville, and I don't have any idea why people poke people, and I like looking at the profile pictures of friends, but it's not like they change that often.  I think it's just that I don't get Facebook.

Which puts me in the same category as this guy:

Take for example tech blogger Edward Berridge over at The Inquirer, who recently wrote that "the browser works on the basis that humanity has rotted to the point that all we have to do with our lives is socialize on Facebook, search on Google, tweet on Twitter, and monitor a handful of key websites."

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How to write like an undergraduate male:

“Within and throughout the lines and text of the poem, ‘The Road Not Taken,’ by Robert Frost, which is a kind of writing a lot different than books and magazines such as Sports Illustrated and Mick Beth the poet uses imagery and iambic footings to convey his meaning and thoughts on life and living in this life in which we live to his audience or you and I the readers of his poem, ‘The Road Not Taken.’.”.

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Big Think says student debt is no big deal, and a commenter notes that she will owe $600,000 by the time she's done.  She must be getting two PhD's and an MD and living in the Hilton.

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Well, I'm really, really done shopping and shipping, and Christmas presents to my clients will hit their offices today, as well.  I'm so done shopping and shipping, that I actually over-shipped, sending a present to Cath and Terry mistakenly to Lin in California, who is sending it back to me. 

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Art Nouveau Insurance

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Why your waiter hates you.

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I put a new stereo deck in my old Honda that Kyle sold to me so he could get a nicer car.  I'm meeting someone today on a sort of, casual, mini-date, and I will point out that although the Honda is old and has a cracked windshield, my other car is an even older and shabbier pickup truck.  Both have good stereo decks, actually, with those USB slots that I used to think were pointless, but then I ripped some MP3's onto a memory stick and plugged it in and what great sound, so now I do it all the time (when I'm not listening to the endless Against the Day).  Yesterday, I was listening to the extraordinary Joni Mitchell, "Ladies of the Valley", actually, thinking how beautiful it was and how I had no idea what valley she was talking about and didn't care.  It's like listening to Green Day, the music is so great, I never bothered to notice I should be putting my hands over my young kids' ears because of the lyrics.

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They keep saying it's going to get cold, but it's been in the 60's and then the 50's and yesterday the 40's for something like 10 days.  You know, in December.  It's like this nice weather just isn't going to leave without a fight.

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We Are the Renters
  -- Beth Ann Fennelly

You need no other name for us than that.
The good folk of Old Taylor Road
know who you mean. We are
the renters, hoarders of bloated boxes,
foam peanuts. When the Welcome Wagon
of local dogs visits our garbage,
we're not sure which houses to yell at. So
what if we leave the cans there a bit too long.
We have white walls, a beige futon, orange
U-Haul on retainer, checks with low numbers.
Scheming to get our security deposit back, nail holes
are spackled with toothpaste. Ooops, our modifiers
dangle. Our uncoiled hoses dangle, but the weeds
in our gutters do not, they grow tall,
they are Renters' Weeds, they are unafraid.
An old black one-speed leans against the carport.
So what. Maybe we were thinking about riding
past these houses with posters for Republican governors.
We have posters too: Garage Sale. "Can I hel—"
"No, just looking." We are just looked at, we renters.
Are we coming soon to your neighborhood?
We're the ones without green thumbs,
with too many references, the ones
whose invitation to the block party
must have gotten lost in the mail. If we're still here
come winter, tell the postman not to bother
searching our nameless mailbox for his Christmas check.


 

December 16, 2010

Stolen Time

 

Brisbane, Caracas, Poulsbo, Delphos

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John on Art:

Art is always going to refer to itself as “Post-war Paris” but it’s always going to sound as if it’s saying “Plaster of Paris.”
Art is as it will be. It washes up against itself as time.
Everyone dislikes most art.
.

.

~~~

Late Night Jokes
 

Costco will no longer sell Apple products in their stores. Apparently, nobody wants a 124-pack of iPads.

 After a long and illustrious career, this is Larry King’s last week on TV. Larry said the call-in portion of his show really took off after they invented the telephone.

 I went shopping at Macy’s and it was so busy, I had to ride stand-by on the escalator.

 You wouldn’t know it in Los Angeles, but it’s freezing in much of the country, with temperatures in the 20s in parts of Florida. I don’t know how she did it, but the whole country has turned into “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.”

 Michelle Obama said that obesity is a national security threat because 1 in 4 young people are too overweight to join the military. Couldn’t we just have a separate fat army to fight in countries that don’t have hills?

McDonald’s says that a hacker broke into its database and stole customer e-mails and phone information. I’m no health freak, but if McDonald’s has your e-mail and your phone number, you’re eating way too much McDonald’s.

A man in Illinois was arrested for throwing a dead squirrel at a Hardee’s employee through the drive-thru window. The employee was like, “Get as mad as you want sir, but like I said, no returns.”

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Dwarf planets, I mean planetoids, I mean Trans-Neptunian Objects, I mean . . .

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" I cook in different languages."


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Paul has a new poem up.

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The Da Vinci Code:  "Italy’s National Committee for Cultural Heritage claims that they’ve found evidence of a real-life “Da Vinci Code” hidden in the pupils of the eyes of the Mona Lisa. "

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The $11 million Christmas tree.

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The 10 most annoying Christmas songs includes:

" I'm no crazy Christian or anything, but even I know there was no little drummer boy in the manger with Mary and Joseph and the animals. He wasn't even the slave of one of the three wise men or anything. He's just some annoying kid with a drum who shows up and is all "pa rum pa pa pum, rum pa pa pum, rum pa pa pumm-ing" everyone until they want to punch him in the face. That's really all this song is, a series of continuous onomatopoeic drum noises that go on and on for hours. Also, David Bowie trying to be all mainstream with Bing Crosby makes my skin crawl."

~~~

 

Cozy Apologia
  -- Rita Dove

For Fred

I could pick anything and think of you—
This lamp, the wind-still rain, the glossy blue
My pen exudes, drying matte, upon the page.
I could choose any hero, any cause or age
And, sure as shooting arrows to the heart,
Astride a dappled mare, legs braced as far apart
As standing in silver stirrups will allow—
There you'll be, with furrowed brow
And chain mail glinting, to set me free:
One eye smiling, the other firm upon the enemy.

This post-postmodern age is all business: compact disks
And faxes, a do-it-now-and-take-no-risks
Event. Today a hurricane is nudging up the coast,
Oddly male: Big Bad Floyd, who brings a host
Of daydreams: awkward reminiscences
Of teenage crushes on worthless boys
Whose only talent was to kiss you senseless.
They all had sissy names—Marcel, Percy, Dewey;
Were thin as licorice and as chewy,
Sweet with a dark and hollow center. Floyd's

Cussing up a storm. You're bunkered in your
Aerie, I'm perched in mine
(Twin desks, computers, hardwood floors):
We're content, but fall short of the Divine.
Still, it's embarrassing, this happiness—
Who's satisfied simply with what's good for us,
When has the ordinary ever been news?
And yet, because nothing else will do
To keep me from melancholy (call it blues),
I fill this stolen time with you.

December 15, 2010

Negation And Despair

 

Austin, Watertown, Claremont, Makati

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Jonathan:  "Poetry is the car and prose is the house. You wouldn't try to fit everything you own in your car. "

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Famous first lines in novels:
 

“A screaming comes across the sky.”  - Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

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Wild and strange language.  (thx, Ron)

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Late Night Jokes

President Obama lit the national Christmas tree, a 40-foot Colorado Spruce. Republicans don’t believe it’s really from Colorado, and they want to see a birth certificate.

When Miley Cyrus’ dad, Billy Ray, found out that his daughter was taking drugs, he kicked her out of the house — until he realized she owns it.

Sarah Palin is going to Haiti this weekend to deliver humanitarian aid. If there’s one thing that’s reassuring, it’s seeing Sarah Palin above you in a helicopter.

George W. Bush’s daughter, Jenna, just put her home in Baltimore on the market for $500,000. The real estate agent said, “I just want to warn you that offers have gone way down ever since the economy was ruined by . . . someone.”


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M.I.T. punts:  "One can certainly question a school's decision to fund a course on Twitter theory over its only advanced poetry workshop."

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Why the founding fathers were against a standing army:  "Indeed, our military posture does require big government, and the spending necessitated thereby has greatly inflated our levels of debt (and perpetual deficit spending).  However, few of the so-called small government advocates and deficit hawks, whether donning tri-corner hats in protest or not, turn to the biggest of all government programs when sharpening the trimming shears. "

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"A degree of leeway is permitted in the details. For example, if dad fancies that he can tell the difference, upgrade to Lagavulin 16 and make do with Ryobi in the shop. If he's handy, splurge on Craftsman and rein the budget back in with Canadian Mist. If he has issues with the sauce, go wild on the other two: DeWalt and cashmere. "   (thx, BoingBoing)


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The Budapest annual Santa run.

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Scott on the Wiki Ignorance Test:

Imagine an objective standard for deciding who is entitled to have an opinion on a topic. All we need is some sort of wiki (user created website) where the basic facts on any debate can be assembled in the form of an ever-evolving multiple choice test. When you find yourself in a debate with someone who hasn't yet passed the test on that topic with a score of 100%, you declare yourself the winner by virtue of being better informed, assuming you scored 100%.

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~~~

 

September 1, 1939
  -- W. H. Auden

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism's face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
"I will be true to the wife,
I'll concentrate more on my work,"
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the deaf,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.



 

December 14, 2010

Our Hospitality Is Famous

 

Pickering, Epsom, Yakima, Moscow

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Boy, that does sound good:  Espresso Black Bean Chili

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The lonely six percent:  "The Pew Research Center found that while 23% of the general public identify as Republican, only 6% of scientists do."

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Monsters:  "In Arcimboldo’s “composite heads,” men are made of candlesticks and gourds and fish and sticks. Arcimboldo also created invertible paintings that, when held over a mirror, show two totally different images."

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John, with some thoughts on Shivani's latest: 

Sure, why not?  “Variety is the spice of life,” and all that, but must it be sought?  Stevens said so, famously.  Anyway, I continue to bat that one around without one side scoring much of an advantage, unless it’s to say, simply: Just write things.  Let others decide if you’ve changed or developed or whatnot.  (Yes, I just wrote “whatnot.”)  The job of the artist is to be inquisitive and to make art.  At other times I think that’s too easy a philosophy, that the more we understand ourselves, the better we can understand what we’re doing.  And understanding what one is doing is a good thing for an artist.  So there I am.

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Font Vader and other Star Wars characters.  (thx, Andrew)

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John again, on poets, voices, branding

On the other hand, this brings up another issue that has been tapping at my shoulder recently: Is it necessary for a poet to change one’s way of doing things over time?  Are the examples of John Ashbery and Rae Armantrout (and others: Dean Young, Mary Ruefle, Kay Ryan, etc etc), who haven’t changed their ways of doing things much at all over the years, examples of continued investigation or examples of poets who have failed to “develop”? 

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Half a dozen examples of "data for a better planet":

Reputation RegistryThe notion here is to create a database that records predictions made by pundits, politicians, experts, and the like, and then measure their accuracy. I salute the spirit of this idea, but the job of a pundit is get to you riled up, not to be accurate. And voting is already an effective and underused way of evaluating a politician.

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Eye candy (to quote Kelli) from Glennray Tutor.  And I love pickled okra.

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How vowel-rich English leads to assonance (and other observations): 

To me, the most striking thing about English is its diversity of vowels, something I only noticed after many years of speaking the language. English, in many dialects, has about 15 vowels (not counting diphtongs). Listen to the vowels through these words: a, kit, dress, trap, lot, strut, foot, bath, nurse, fleece, thought, goose, goat, north[1].

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I was reading a somewhat right-wing blog that Boing Boing referenced and then started following links to links to links.  Pretty soon, I'd been to a couple of dozen conservative (in some cases, really conservative) blogs:  They have names like "American Power" or "Red, White and Blue in the Face" and borders festooned with anti-Obama art.

 

There seems to be an endless supply of them, and I could go on linking forever as new ones are created.  Maybe there are as many liberal blogs, but (having looked for them), it just doesn't seem so.

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But, they can't do that to me! 

The American Psychiatric Association recently announced it's considering lifting narcissistic personality disorder — along with four other personality disorders — from its highly influential Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

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The Metrodome collapses.  (thx, Gawker)

I also read that Western Wisconsin got two feet of snow.  Stay safe.

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"U.S. Military Bans Those Little USB Thumb Drive Things"  :Because the world’s most powerful military is being destroyed by a combination of a) goat herders in Afghanistan and b) some weird guy with a website, the Pentagon has just banned any kind of little gizmo that can save information off a computer.

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A guided tour of Magritte at MoMA with audio.  (thx, Yglesias)

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Cardinal Numbers

  -- A. E. Stallings

 

Mrs. Cardinal is dead:

All that remains—a beak of red,

And, fanned across the pavement slab,

Feathers, drab.

 

Remember how we saw her mate

In the magnolia tree of late,

Glowing, in the faded hour,

A scarlet flower,

 

And knew, from his nagging sound,

His wife foraged on the ground,

As camouflaged, as he (to us)

Conspicuous?

 

One of us remarked, with laughter,

It was her safety he looked after,

On the watch, from where he sat,

For dog or cat

 

(For being lately married we

Thought we had the monopoly,

Nor guessed a bird so glorious

Uxorious).

 

Of course, the reason that birds flocked

To us:  we kept the feeder stocked.

And there are cats (why mince words)

Where there are birds.

 

A 'possum came when dusk was grey,

And so tidied the corpse away,

While Mr. Cardinal at dawn

Carried on,

 

As if to say, he doesn't blame us,

Our hospitality is famous.

If other birds still want to visit,

Whose fault is it?

December 13, 2010

Clumsy At First

 

Plymouth, Pana, Orono, Fishers

~~~

Anti- Issue #7 is out with Keith Wilson, Christina Olson, Patricia Lockwood and others.

~~~

Trends in promotional author photographs:  The Sophisticated Photograph, The Office Photograph, The Comfortable Photograph, . . .

Personally, I liked Trish's bikini photograph.

~~~

I was asking Der about this the other day.  Sad songs and the minor third:  "While there might be a loose correlation—reinforced by our particular musical tradition—between minor scales and "sadness," it's a mistake to think that the moods evoked by music can be confidently reduced to tonality in and of itself."

~~~



SciFi kid's books.   (thx, BoingBoing)

~~~

Sudden genius?  "Andrew Robinson goes further in undermining the myths of genius, suggesting that virtually none of the common-sense ideas we have about it stack up."

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Why the original Social Security Act failed to cover domestic workers (African-Americans), agricultural workers (Latinos), and others:

"And why was it so limited? Because Franklin Delano Roosevelt had to cut deals with conservatives -- many of whom were motivated by nothing more than racism -- in order to get the legislation passed. FDR knew he was betraying his principles and even some of his own supporters at the time, but he considered the goal of getting Social Security in place paramount, even if it was incomplete, even if it left Americans in need out."

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'Tis the season, mon.  Six-foot marijuana plant decorated as Christmas tree.

~~~

Sometimes economics journalists go off to interesting places.  Here's Felix Salmon on the value of Open Table, a restaurant reservation site:


In fact, diners spend a lot more than $150 to $160 per person at Coi. According to the restaurant’s OpenTable page, OpenTable reservations are taken only for the main dining room, where there’s a compulsory 11-course tasting menu. The price is $135, plus 9.5% tax (welcome to San Francisco) plus an automatic 18% service charge. Before having a drop to drink, that’s $172 per person as a bare minimum. If you’re ordering the $95 wine pairing, that gets you up to $293. (I’m assuming here that the tip is calculated on the pre-tax total, which some restaurants don’t do.) And if you fancy cocktails or coffee or cult California cabernets or 1907 madeira at $122 per glass, then of course they sky’s the limit.


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It's been near or above 60 for days now, and likely will until mid-week.  Just amazing.  As for everyone east of me, cold weather fashion fantasy:

I would start with this $3,155 Isabel Marant shearling suede biker jacket, which would provide the svelte lines missing with my puffer fiasco. Truly nothing beats the warm fuzz of shearling on your tootsies, so I would also go for the shearling-lined suede boots from APC (on sale now for an-almost-maybe reasonable $329!). Since I would want to break up the miles of dark suede with some color, I fancy this chunky knit beanie from Tsuyumi—also on sale, at $105—in a funky purple.

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What one million Christmas lights look like.

~~~

Arizona passes a law against karma:  "ANY STATUTE, TENET OR BODY OF LAW EVOLVING WITHIN AND BINDING A SPECIFIC RELIGIOUS SECT OR TRIBE. RELIGIOUS SECTARIAN LAW INCLUDES SHARIA LAW, CANON LAW, HALACHA AND KARMA"

~~~



The Elders of Evil.

~~~

 Ken Whisenhunt Making Ends Meet By Taking Second Head Coach Job

~~~

What Fallows misses about China:

"Some firms would have been put off by the fact that non-Muslims are barred from working in Mecca, so China simply converted hundreds of railway workers to Islam."
 

~~~

Scott on Sweden:

Here's a list of three things that you are unlikely to do, at least in this order:

1. Watch a Swedish movie called The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
2. Read about the Swedish sex charges against Julian Assange
3. Book a vacation to Sweden

~~~

 

Kentucky River Junction
  -- Wendell Berry

to Ken Kesey & Ken Babbs

Clumsy at first, fitting together
the years we have been apart,
and the ways.

But as the night
passed and the day came, the first
fine morning of April,

it came clear:
the world that has tried us
and showed us its joy

was our bond
when we said nothing.
And we allowed it to be

with us, the new green
shining.

*

Our lives, half gone,
stay full of laughter.

Free-hearted men
have the world for words.

Though we have been
apart, we have been together.

*

Trying to sleep, I cannot
take my mind away.
The bright day

shines in my head
like a coin
on the bed of a stream.

*

You left
your welcome.

December 12, 2010

Head-on Collision Of Clichés

 

Norco, Knoxville, Pinehurst, Boston

~~~

Superheroes and the Second Amendment:

"First, many superpowers could be considered ‘concealed weapons.’ Before the Human Torch shouts ‘flame on!’ and activates his power, he appears to be an ordinary person. Could the government require a kind of Scarlet Letter to identify those with concealed superpowers? I think the answer is a qualified yes."

~~~

A building rocks out in Lyon.

~~~

The most popular Google searches of 2010:

# chatroulette
# ipad
# justin bieber
# nicki minaj
# friv
# myxer
# katy perry
# twitter
# gamezer
# facebook

~~~

Fallows states what conservatives and libertarians seem to have forgotten:

The United States' primary disadvantage is in misunderstanding the origins of today's best-paying, high-tech industries. Many an enterprise arose from a foundation laid by public-private research partnerships: Apple, Google, and their competitors in the info-tech and Internet businesses; Genentech, Pfizer, and others in the biotech, genomics, and pharmaceutical fields; America's leading exporter, Boeing, and others in the aerospace and geo-information industries. Federal funding-- mainly from the Pentagon and the National Institutes of Health--helped to create the basic technologies upon which entrepreneurs later started new businesses. Led by China, competitors around the world are now applying this same model in the race to build clean-energy, nanotech, and health care industries and other industries of the future. U.S. research funding, by contrast, has become sporadic and stop-start, and is likely to suffer under acute budget pressures.

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Late Night Jokes

In an interview with V magazine, the beautiful actress Salma Hayek reveals that she came to the United States illegally. How many guys are rethinking their stance on illegal immigration now?

WikiLeaks supporters have hacked into Sarah Palin’s credit card information after she criticized Julian Assange. Sarah said she's very upset, and hopes all suspicious charges to her account can be refundiated.

After hacking into Visa and MasterCard yesterday, WikiLeaks supporters now want to take down Amazon.com. After they do it, Amazon will suggest a list of similar sites they might also enjoy hacking.

A new study found that seniors can keep their minds sharp by doing puzzles and brain teasers. That’s why every morning, we stick my grandmother in a maze and make her find her way out.

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This year's movies from best ( Carlos, Black Swan, Fish Tank)  to worst  (Valentine's Day, Love Ranch, Grown Ups).

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They can do everything!  "THEY can walk, talk and beat grandmasters at chess, but the computer has taken one step closer to humanity: it can now tell a terrible joke."

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The Onion horoscope for Cancer:  "You'll come to in a new Orleans brothel between a dead politician's daughter and a duffel bag full of cash, but unfortunately it's all easily explained and is cleared up within minutes."


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Elisa make me smile again:  "Like why don't we follow the Dances with Wolves model? Who decided "Dwight" is a good thing to call someone?"

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The case for and against secrecy:  "There are a set of clear cases. Congress should debate matters openly. The President should have a private channel with which to communicate with other world leaders. Restaurants must publish the results of their latest health inspection. You shouldn't have your lifetime browsing history published by Google. These are not complicated cases."

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More AWP bumper stickers:

PALIN/SEIDEL IN 2012

HELEN VENDLER WASHES STEPHEN BURT OUT OF HER TURRET WITH A HOSE

POET LAUREATES: THE OTHER WHITE MEAT

IF IT LOOKS LIKE POETRY BUT IT'S NOT, IT'S IN THE NEW YORKER

EMILY DICKINSON DIED FOR YOUR SINS

JOHN ASHBERY: SAYING IT THAT WAY BECAUSE HE CAN, SINCE 1956


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In Praise of Their Divorce
  -- Tony Hoagland

And when I heard about the divorce of my friends,
I couldn't help but be proud of them,

that man and that woman setting off in different directions,
like pilgrims in a proverb

—him to buy his very own toaster oven,
her seeking a prescription for sleeping pills.

Let us keep in mind the hidden forces
which had struggled underground for years

to push their way to the surface—and that finally did,
cracking the crust, moving the plates of earth apart,

releasing the pent-up energy required
for them to rent their own apartments,

for her to join the softball league for single mothers
for him to read George the Giraffe over his speakerphone

at bedtime to the six-year-old.

The bible says, Be fruitful and multiply

but is it not also fruitful to subtract and to divide?
Because if marriage is a kind of womb,

divorce is the being born again;
alimony is the placenta one of them will eat;

loneliness is the name of the wet-nurse;
regret is the elementary school;

endurance is the graduation.
So do not say that they are splattered like dropped lasagna

or dead in the head-on collision of clichés
or nailed on the cross of their competing narratives.

What is taken apart is not utterly demolished.
It is like a great mysterious egg in Kansas

that has cracked and hatched two big bewildered birds.
It is two spaceships coming out of retirement,

flying away from their dead world,
the burning booster rocket of divorce
falling off behind them,

the bystanders pointing at the sky and saying, Look.