[narcissism, vanity, exhibitionism, ambition, vanity, vanity, vanity]


Reality Is Dead, Long Live Reality TV

Chuckling over Laura Miller's review of David Shields' manifesto against the novel: "It's reality to say that you just can't work up the enthusiasm for novels anymore, but to proclaim from the rooftops that the novel is dead, that's showbiz."



Toddler Tackles Hamlet, "Best Drama Student I Ever Had" Says Brian Cox

In addition to being just plain funny ... this is actually a great bit of theater. The play of attunement between the two principals is altogether a wonderful bit of pedagogical slapstick, complete with intermittently bored student and teacher who chases said student just a bit too fast before recovering. It's also neat to watch how Cox attunes to his audience (excluding the toddler), and the play between Cox and the camera.



What Mark Forgot to Add

It was delicious. And the company could not be beat. Thanks, Mark!



Still Funny

Back when the idea of a listserv was still interesting enough for me to spend time on one, someone posted Sartre's Lost Cookbook.

October 6
I have realized that the traditional omelet form (eggs and cheese) is bourgeois. Today I tried making one out of cigarettes, some coffee, and four tiny stones. I fed it to Malraux, who puked.

Fifteen years on, it still makes me laugh. Wish I knew who wrote it. Er, maybe that's the point.

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In a wonderful post about how his cooking has changed, Mark reminds me that pleasure -- in eating, in writing, in most things -- is all about the details.

Warm the plates. Use wine glasses.


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One Eye on the Winter

A moving series of photos from Pripyat -- sentinel photographs really, telling us this, too, is a human possibility, showing us one version of the future -- 20 years downstream from Chernobyl.

(Photo: Pedro Moura Pinheiro via:villageofjoy.com)

(The subject line's from Shona Laing's 1987 Soviet Snow.)

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Humiliation du Jour

One Friday afternoon some eighteen years ago, I punched my time card to begin my shift at the Cafe at Brooks, a now-defunct restaurant on Providence's East Side. I was nineteen years old, a rising college junior with a double major in English literature and philosophy, who was looking forward to hitting the books -- Proust, Joyce and Faulkner, that semester -- in the fall with a nice cushion of cash in the bank.

The cafe used to advertise on local radio. Each spot would end with the tagline, "The Cafe at Brooks! Where you just might fall in love with your waitress."

Well, you might, I suppose. The waitresses (all women) were typically Brown undergraduates: bright and articulate, with good middle-class manners and enough level-headed wherewithal to get a three or four-course meal to your table and then deliver the check, usually calculated correctly, without mishaps.

Most of the time.

The afternoon was slow, and we were seating folks in round-robin fashion, distributing comers among the handful of waitresses on the floor. When my turn rolled around, I delivered menus and water to a couple whose aura of ill-will -- toward themselves, toward each other, perhaps toward the fact of simply being alive -- strongly suggested to my admittedly quite mercantile mind that I should not expect much by way of a tip.

Two choices are available to a waitress in this situation. First, you can start doing schtick. It is intrusive, but sometimes a charming smile, a joke, a little extra solicitousness can make the difference, tip-wise, between a five percent insult and a twenty percent gift. Or you can resolve to work as quietly and professionally as possible, leaving the couple space to work out whatever nasty business is between them. This second strategy is more useful when the vibe is really angry, because in that case, being exceptionally nice means making yourself a target for the bad energy that's already going around.

Snap decisions are everything in restaurant service. That night, I really didn't want anyone to be mean to me. I had just escaped a rotten argument with my mother, who'd interrupted my reading of Stanley Cavell's latest in order to harangue me about the nerve I'd shown in dropping to a size four that summer. (I'd been on a steady diet of coffee and crusts leftover from bread baskets at work, because I was too cheap to shell out for a real meal at the Cafe where employees got only a fifty percent discount.) In short: I didn't want to be an emotional lightning rod for this angry pair. I was feeling tender enough already. So, naturally, I went for strategy #2: all business.

After giving them a minute to look at the menu, I readied my pen over my order pad. "Have you decided?"

The woman placed her order; I no longer remember what she wanted. The man said, "Pepper steak."

"Pepper steak," I repeated. Pepper steak was what went into a grinder in the sub shop near my house on Wiseacre Drive. Chopped steak and peppers heated on a grill and dumped into a hoagy roll, cheese and onions optional. You couldn't get a pepper steak at Cafe at Brooks. The fare was fancier than that.

"That's not on the menu," I said. "But if you tell me exactly what you'd like, I'm sure I can get the kitchen to make it for you."

"Pepper steak!" he said angrily. And then, more carefully: "Steak oh pwahv."

What in the world was steak oh pwahv? I'd never heard of steak oh pwahv. And he really sounded strange. I looked at him closely, wondering if he was having a stroke.

He pointed to a line on the menu, at a dish for which I'd never taken an order: Steak au poivre.

"Oh!" I smiled. It was all clear now. "You mean steak oh poyvree!"

Well, I didn't speak French. And growing up, though I'd read a lot, I didn't often discuss my reading. Difficult words could take on strange phonetic identities in my imagination. I wasn't always able to correctly infer the sound of a word from how it looked on the page.

Something flashed in his eyes: faint amusement, tinged with ridicule, or maybe it was just the sun pouring in through the skylight, hot as a pretentious cafe in hell, hot as the shameful blush that I felt spreading from my neck to my hairline. His wife looked daggers at me over her Perrier, as if she'd finally found incontrovertible proof of some hypothesis she'd been secretly entertaining for a long time: Men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses -- and the ones who don't wear glasses, at least not while on shift at the Cafe at Brooks, are pathetically seducing your husband by screwing up his order for steak oh poyvree.

Or maybe I'd just punctured her hope that a meal on the town, in this town, might for once be a not completely shabby and cut-rate experience.

I don't know where I got the courage to follow up properly and ask how he'd like his steak au poivre cooked, but I did.

I wrote it all down and scuttled into the back, where my boss, who'd heard the whole exchange, was bent double with laughter. I laughed, too. Because otherwise I might have jumped into the fryolator.

Afterward, the angry couple wanted neither coffee nor dessert, and for this small mercy I was heartily glad. I dropped the check and they left, silent and sour as ever. My tip was ten percent exactly.

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The Right Place

Yesterday, I found my new office at BU.

It is in the same building as Agni.

The lobby floor is tiled, in the tiny tiles characteristic of turn-of-the-century buildings in this part of Boston. The ground floor is a warren of tiny rooms. My office is one of them.

The office is bright. There are three windows, of which one opens. Another is a big bay, a little like the one that graced my first apartment, in Back Bay, years ago.

All windows still have the original moldings, complete with dentils.

A bay window! Dentils!


The office also has a French door, with period hardware, and a transom window over the door that looks like it might actually work. I don't check, though. Period fittings can be fragile.

Fragile as academic jobs.

As I make my way out of the building, headed for my class, a young man holds the door for me.

"The last gentleman!" I say, grinning. Does he get it?

He smiles back, then smiles bigger. Yes, he gets it. He does.

If I don't outlast the fittings, I hope at least to give them a good fight.



Soulful dog.

Originally uploaded by quiet.eye.

Would like to eat your slippers.

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Forgotten Outtake from Lost in the Cosmos

Recently, a team of historians of American literature unearthed a draft of what appears to be a forgotten -- or, perhaps, omitted -- outtake from Walker Percy's Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book:

The Pile of Crap Questionnaire

You are faced with a pile of crap. What is your response?

a) "That is not crap." (Denial.)

b) "Let us run some tests to see if it is indeed a pile of crap." (Empirical-scientific view of world.)

c) "That is not crap, but merely the illusion of crap." (Veil-of-Maya view of world.)

d) "Crap is nature's way of keeping us on track evolutionarily." (Sociobiology explains it all.)

e) "That's a pile of carp, not crap." (Dyslexia explains it all.)

f) "You think that's crap? I'll show you crap." (Superego explains it all, beatings included no extra charge.)

g) "Historico-epistemically speaking..." (Egghead Delusion, soon to be appear in the DSM-V.)

h) "OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG" (Hysteria. Requires Blackberry, Twitter account, sedatives.)

i) "My shovel, please." (Heroic pragmatism, can-do attitude.)

j) "How about you shovel, and I'll pay you later, maybe." (Late capitalism.)

k) "Lucky are those who find their bliss in the ordinary." (Inverted snobbery.)

l) "You wouldn't know crap if it hit you in the face." (Ordinary snobbery. May not be good enough for some people.)

m) "Ew." (You know who thinks this.)

n) "This doesn't go in the compost, does it?" (Enviro-anxiety.)

o) "Let's set it on fire. (Pyromania. Maybe just mania.)

Later: I read the list to Jane, and she interrupted me at "c": "Just what sort of crap are we talking about here, exactly?"



Ten Years

They said marriage wouldn't be all beer and skittles. We understood this to mean: When in doubt, add beer. Also skittles. Raise a glass! Been married ten years today.



Putting the H in H-Bomb

MIT Professor David Kaiser reveals the secret Cold War life of the hamentaschen, a matter of grave scholarly importance.

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Jane Phones Home

Phone rings. Unknown caller.

"Hello?" I say.


A single syllable in a high-pitched voice that might be Jane's, or maybe not. I've never had a conversation with her on the phone that wasn't prefaced by some statement that let everyone know the score (e.g., "Jane, put down that cupcake/cowbell/kittycat for a minute and talk to your mother.")

In the ensuing silence, we both learn something about telephony. And the limits of maternal mind-reading.



Preliminaries established, there follows a conversation about a forgotten pair of swim goggles. Can txt be far behind?

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A Girl Who Can Write


"The problem with this industry is, they hire a girl who can write and they think that's marketing."

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Wheels down in Torino at 14:00; wifi-enabled, with cell phone, hubby, all the luggage and one wiped-out kid, in under 90 minutes, including cab from airport. Been such a homebody lately I wasn't sure how I'd manage. Flight anxiety wholly dissipated by the time we passed just south of Reykjavik. I can still do this. More than that, I've missed it.

Lots of French spoken here. Val d'Isere just an hour away. Saw Lac Geneve on the way in.

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Post-Punk Twaddle

Oceanic sound: bass, brass, ethereal string. No matter how loud I play it, I want it LOUDER. Exercise: Draw a line from Prokofiev to The Killers.

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Closely Watched Trains

Was troubled by the trains this afternoon. On humid days, the long Amtrak beep-beep is audible in the kitchen.

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Nostalgia Item

Woke up with a song in my head. When I was seven or eight, my musical grandfather taught me to pick out the melody to "Pagan Love Song" on the piano. Thirty years later, I get to wondering about the tune -- who wrote it, what for, and how did my grandfather come to hear it. No answers on any score, but I did find a YouTube clip of hoofer Jack Imel performing the song on Lawrence Welk, circa 1958.

What silliness! And my grandfather was hip to it. Did he know, teaching me that song, that he was laying down a special sort of memory of him -- his sense of mischief, of fun -- encoded through ear and hands? Doubly indelible, and thank goodness for that.

Via Boingboing.

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Tweets from Outer Space

Keep up with astronaut Mike Massimino on his Twitter page.

From orbit: Just saw Orion's nebula in the night sky -- the sights make all the hard work and risk worthwhile
From orbit: Night pass over Australia, the city lights give stunning signs of life on our planet
From orbit: got a call from President Obama, it was a great event for our crew and very thoughtful of the President




You can pay your bills, sort the recyclables, mow the lawn, manage the inbox, make your deadlines, eat all your veggies, and still things go all to hell ... life is so lumpy sometimes.



My Life

I had just read this line from Rilke

Earth invisible! What is your urgent command, if not transformation?

when the dog farted.



Saved for Later (I Love Lynda Barry)




Noted, today: the year's first perennial shoots have pushed through the winter mulch. It's not so much that hope springs eternal, or even that spring does, but that perennials just are the gardener's great friends -- not necessarily showy or fancy, but the ones who come through again and again.

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Schumann Resonances

Saved for another day: Wikipedia entry on Schumann resonances, regular disturbances in the earth's electromagnetic field related to global thunderstorm activity. The maximum frequency of these resonances is about 60 Hz.

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Not Just a Name

What wonders the internet coughs up. Today's wonder: a small dictionary of Griko, an antique dialect of southern Italy, from the days of Magna Graecia, which stretched all the way to the Black Sea's eastern coast, you know, back in the day.

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Usability Notes from Grandpa

Media-savvy Grandpa has a new blog. This note arrived in my inbox yesterday:

My Dearest Children,

If you think it's worth spreading the bullshit, please do.
If you think of small changes, please share.
If you think of big changes, don't waste your time.
You know I'll listen politely.

Then do whatever I want anyway.

With all my love,




November is damn cold. Spent a bit of today looking for webcams of Caribbean beaches. Sigh.



The Lolcat Bible

Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat maded teh skiez An da Urfs, but he did not eated dem.

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Catalogue from Darwin

List of plates accompanying The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872):

Diagram of the muscles of the face, from Sir C. Bell; small dog watching a cat on a table; dog approaching another dog with hostile intentions; dog in a humble and affectionate frame of mind; half-bred shepherd dog; dog caressing his master; cat, savage, and prepared to fight; cat in an affectionate frame of mind; sound-producing quills from the tail of the Porcupine; hen driving away a dog from her chickens; swan driving away an intruder; head of snarling dog; cat terrified at a dog; Cynopithecus niger, in a placid condition; the same, when pleased by being caressed; chimpanzee, disappointed and sulky; photograph of an insane woman; terror; horror and agony.

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Bechdel's Rule

If a movie doesn't have at least two women in it, who talk to each other, about something other than a man, it's not worth seeing. Apparently this rule is thirty years old. I have managed to miss it entirely. This may explain, however, my general and longstanding antipathy to the available fare in mainstream movie theaters.

As usual, Bitch Phd has a good post about why the dialogue part matters. In a nutshell: Dialogue is where the narrative heavy-lifting happens. When characters are talking, they are explaining motivations, broadly construed -- the principles that order and produce meaning inside the universe of the film. As BPhD says, "They are illuminating the world they live in by describing it." What isn't discussed remains outside the order of the film because doesn't make sense within the film's universe. Having women talk to each other onscreen about something other than a man -- how refreshing! So many novel narrative possibilities open up.

(Discovered this material while surfing the internet, longing to find the wherewithal to do some actual work. I am unconfident these days, the person at the end of the diving board who keeps pacing back and forth, who can't summon the nerve to make the leap into the water. Do I owe you email? I will get back to you tomorrow. Today I'm working on getting into the swim, as they say.)

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Generational Change

One of my teachers once told me, your first political memory marks the most forward point of your greatest historical amnesia. Everything in the years just before that will always be a little mysterious.

My first political memory: the fall of Saigon.

Jane's first political memory: Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the US.

Times change. Sometimes, even for the better. It is more than a little consolation that Jane will remember nothing of Bush 43.



Not Bad for a So-Called Nervous Flier

In the last 14 days, I've flown 12,000 air miles, through 10 time zones, on 9 airplanes, of which 5 were regional jets. This experience included: 3 unannounced episodes of "rough air," 1 airport cab that did not show up, 1 electronic device that was not stowed for takeoff, 1 unattended bag, 1 single-wheel landing and 1 firearm in someone's luggage.

Number of Ativan taken: 0.

I am Queen Serene.

[If you care about such things as much as I apparently do: This post has been substantially rewritten for no good reason; it seems my anxiety problem has been secretly replaced by Folger's Crystals, no, I mean OCD. Can you tell the difference?]



To the Finland Station

[another cheese sandwich] [also, a kind of primal scene]

Of course, it wasn't anything like that, or even like that.

I had taken the Moscow sleeper to Helsinki. Embarked at Petersburg. I saw the sun rise from the train, as we rolled through a blasted landscape -- all the trees had been cut down -- punctured by the occasional long-abandoned monastery or, more frequently, clusters of tin-roofed shacks. I was in the top bunk. A couple slept below.

Here I am in Russia, I thought. This is Russia.

That's what it was, perhaps is, all about for me, that slight shift in point of view -- and the infinitely generative mistake contained within it. Here I am ... This is. And the moves that follow: Are you? You, really? And, where? Is it?

(There's a joke here, about dialects and dialectics. Not to mention dielectrics. Damned if I can find it, though.)

Anyway, to specify: I -- if it was "I", if one can say "I" -- was on my way to the border. At Vyborg, police would board the train. There'd be traffic in passports and visas. I had euros, rubles -- and a fistful of dollars, if it came to that. I wondered about the language in which the border transaction would occur. Last time, it had been in Russian. Mine had been passable, a thoroughly convertible currency, and I'd gotten some obscure extra cultural credit for speaking it. This time, I wasn't sure. (I am never sure, at these moments, if my language will be good enough, as if the currency on my tongue might be petrodollar or worthless paper or something in between, according to an exchange rate over which, strangely, I feel I have no control.) I stared at my passport, at the visa that had taken so much to procure. After days without documents in Petersburg, days in which I wondered whether my payment of a "passport tax" -- which the hotel had required, in American dollars, along with the surrender of my passport -- was actually going to be enough, I was just relieved to have the passport back. Not that I knew, in any significant way, who I was. Not that anything on my passport could tell me. Still, I could write my own name in Cyrillic. If it was mine. If it came to that. Would it come to that? How to tell?

I was on the border, and still making prison art.

Below me, the man and the woman woke slowly. She pulled her hair back into a ponytail and adjusted the pretty scarf at her neck. He shrugged into his coat. They were shy with each other, and oblivious of me. Are marriages the same the world over? They discussed her sister, his father, family matters, all the while speaking gently to one other, almost formally, as if courtesy were everything. Perhaps it is. When they finally noticed me, I spoke in haltingly in Russian, to show I had not understood what I'd overheard. This was important. A courtesy, also. But I'd screwed myself, in a way, because now I could not speak more fluent Russian to the border police.

I now wonder if this was not perhaps the most artful thing I'd done on the whole trip.

I had Osip Mandelstam on the brain. ... I am suddenly transitionless ... He died in a gulag, an imprisoned artist who managed somehow not to make prison art. A freedom he took, illicitly, and paid for - what currency - with his life. No dawn trains for him, no reliable velocity taking him across the border, out of the country. No dull, sweet conversation waking him up, either. Instead, just ambivalent wishing for a place in which to have a conversation of, I think, a different sort: We shall meet again in Petersburg, as though there we'd buried the sun, and for the first time, speak the word, the sacred meaningless one...

[for extra credit, tell me what's right and wrong, at once, about the title of this post. hint: prepositions of motion can be very hard to translate into russian]

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On Being At Sea & Sort of Liking It.

[Cheese sandwich warning]

Richard Hughes' A High Wind in Jamaica, Angela Carter's Burning Your Boats, and Nicholas Christopher's Crossing the Equator top my list of "desert island" books, which I keep in the increasingly wistful and distant but persistent hope that someday I may wind up on just such an island, with just such a library.

Do you see me, atop the rigging, with my sunburned nose in a book? Look, I am waving at you - with my bookmark! Which I made myself, of seagull feathers and hemp and a blue ribbon I might have won sometime, or maybe stolen from the sky.

It is the color of my mother's eyes.

I love adventure stories. They always seem to involve an element of getting back to basics, back to the sea and sky, wind and water. Back to the elemental.

Once, when I was really, or more accurately, metaphorically, at sea, I went to the library, where I always go to get my bearings, and discovered the subject for my graduate thesis. Which started, naturally enough, in a navigation problem: the earth's magnetic field is weak but pervasive. It screws up compasses, makes navigation difficult under cloudy conditions. Someone in the megalomaniacal years of the early nineteenth century decided it would be a good idea to make global observations of this force, over long periods of time, in order to arrive at a method for figuring out what the strength of the field might be anywhere, at any time. Compasses could be corrected by book and algorithm. Sea adventures might yet require the library.


In the megalomaniaical years of writing my dissertation -- some might recall the party we threw when I finished, how we gave the -e-vite the opening line: Ladies and gentlemen, our long national nightmare is over -- I took a class, taught by my eventual dissertation advisor, on the history of ancient science and its influences on the early moderns, emphasis on Galileo and Newton. Astronomy, physics, mechanics -- I was in my element and out of my depth. (Both clichés are pleasingly exact, like the sciences in question.) For the first session, we were assigned all of Aristotle except the Poetics, which was a pity, given what was about to transpire. Five of us showed up for the first class, I think, including the professor. Class was held in his office. We wedged ourselves around a tiny table as he approached the whiteboard, where he wrote:

Fire. Water. Air. Earth.

"What are these?"

I had been reading Aristotle for days. I had been at sea for weeks. This was a graduate seminar. Surely, the professor could not be starting with Aristotle's doctrine of the elements? It was, if you'll forgive the pun, entirely too elementary.

We sat there, waiting to see who would jump, who would answer first. Perhaps it was a trick question.

"Come on, people," he said. He was getting exasperated. I couldn't blame him. He was all by himself up there, with all of us gawping at him, in confusion and awe and also not a little desperation. "What are these?"

Silence. Back to basics, I thought.

"Nouns," I said. "They are nouns."

Splash! In the laughter that followed, I realized that although we still didn't know where we were going, we had begun.

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This Just In, From the Edge of the Universe

Apparently, the "edge" of the universe is not metaphysical. It's real, and there's a neighboring universe out there next to ours, blobbier and heavier.

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This Transaction is 100% Safe

Too good not to share.

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.
I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transaction is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully
Minister of Treasury Paulson

via Wordsend, thanks Vika!

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The Right Place

In the stats this morning: Someone found this page by searching on "the moomins" and "immanuel kant." Perhaps looking for research paper ideas?

Image:Moomin kuva.JPG

"Moomin Modes of Thought in Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics."
"Was ist Erklaerung? in Moomin Valley."
"Is There A Synthetic a Priori? A Debate Between Too-Ticky and the Hemulen."

Et cetera.



Large Hadron Rap

What strange, clever monkeys we are. The known 'verse, indeed.

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via JoanBeach4

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My Life Expectancy is 102

What's yours?



Making Protein Even More Expensive

Supposedly because people in so-called developing nations are eating more meat, but perhaps also because fuel has become so expensive, fertilizer has become a very, very hot commodity. Sigh.

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There's nothing, nothing, like a long run in the rain. In new sneakers, too.



Going Nowhere With More Degrees of Freedom Than Ever Before!

From the Department of What Will They Think of Next: the omni-directional treadmill. So now you can go nowhere in any direction you like.

One more thing -- comments are now open.



Cute Kid

Originally uploaded by quiet.eye.
I have just bought a yarn share from the marvelous shepherds at Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm. OMG, I can't tell you how happy this makes me. (But this picture might give an inkling.) In the fall, I will have more wonderful yarn than I know what to do with... Here are some pics of my future sweaters. (This link will also take you to photographs of goat bums and a sad story about the loss of one kid to the feeding trough or some such. Oh well, that's agriculture. You have been warned.)

If this post is a bit of a
cheese sandwich, all I can say is: hey, at least it's chevre.




Some years ago, Hillary Clinton had an audience with "the Ice Maiden of Mount Amparo," a mummy found in the Andes.

The image is iconic on so many levels. Archaeologists say she -- the mummy, the girl found on the mountain -- was sacrificed at the age of twelve or fourteen, to appease the gods of the mountain. (Which has tended to erupt.) I feel like there is something slightly wrong with Hillary's response, her excited awe and fascination. She is not sufficiently moved by the corpse.

Here's a link to the audio of the event.



In Other Words

"Speaking of Accidents"
Peter Everwine

Given the general murkiness of fate
you might, in my mother's words, "Thank
your lucky stars," a phrase she'd drop
into the lull between calamities
like a rubbed stone, then nod wisely
while it sank home, pure poetry,
meaning she loved the sound of it
more than its truth.
But precisely here one needs discrimination.
Our town drunk, steering by streetlamp home one night,
as was his custom, got fooled
beyond recognition when a fast freight at the crossing
fixed him to its glare. "Some men
are like moths," we said, and that
was the poetry in it,
meaning his sudden somersault into light.
Truth is, the world fell in on him
as it commonly does when you stray
from the garden path and run head on
into the pain that, until then,
was as lost as you.
The trick is to risk collision,
then step back at the last moment:
that ringing in your ears
might be construed as the rush of stars.
We all want stars, those constellations
with the lovely names we've given them blossoming
in the icy windblown fields of the dark.
Desire is always fuming into radiance,
though even a drunk can't hope to ignore
some fixity underfoot, some vivid point
closer to home where all the lines converge --
scars, I mean,
not stars.

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In Which I Join a Fray

Couldn't resist throwing my hat in the ring over at If:book.



I've Always Had A Secret Crush...

...on Vermont. Here's one good reason why.



april hates u, makes lilacs, u no can has!!!

Of all the wonderfully strange media objects -- Hamster Dance, All Your Base -- for which we can thank the innernets, this one's got to be one of the best: a LOLcats version of "The Waste Land." Thanks for the laugh, ET.

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Thou Shalt Not Roll Right Through the Stop Sign

and other rules of the road, courtesy of the Vatican.