all_unnecessary
01 February 2012 @ 09:39 am
Pointed out to me in email, this terrific review (sadly behind a paywall) in TLS ("Too spirited for the spooks," Jon Barnes, 7 January 2005) of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, edited by the frankly "affirmational" fan Leslie S. Klinger, who plays "the parlour game of Sherlockian scholarship":

Initiated in 1911 by a Catholic priest who intended it as a spoof of scriptural exegesis, the game assumes that Sherlock Holmes actually existed, that the stories really were written by John Watson MD, and that Doyle acted only as the doctor’s agent. The supposed fun lies in ensuring that the canon’s numerous mistakes, implausibilities and inconsistencies are coherently explained away, no matter how tortured the logic required. Klinger fills page after page with the kind of wilfully pedantic literary mischief-making which John Sutherland has turned into an art form. How many wives had Doctor Watson? Did Holmes love the only woman ever to have outwitted him? What colour was the Baker Street dressing gown? And what really happened at the Reichenbach Falls? The whimsy of this conceit swiftly becomes grating and, in relegating the author to the role of mere go-between and front man, also seems faintly insulting to Doyle himself.

From what I can gather, his fans' affirmational "mischief-making" (a parlor game I would totally play if I had all the frigging world and time) stands in interestingly educational contrast to the transformational game many scholars of fandom-queering are doing. Just found this fascinating wiki, which annotates slashily: apparently, this moment in A Scandal in Bohemia is "the only instance in canon of Holmes and Watson walking with linked arms," a detail I find quite touching:

Slipping through the shouting crowd I made my way to the corner of the street, and in ten minutes was rejoiced to find my friend's arm in mine, and to get away from the scene of uproar.

Was rejoiced to find. It has a helpless, knowing fondness for the impossibility of some kind of sexual relationship, of it forever remaining a "bromance," that I find faintly Barthesian.

Discovered via this equally fascinating post in [community profile] queering_holmes, which recounts members' experiences of Holmes slash over time and what impact the 09 movie has had. I want so much to read the slash/crackfic mentioned in this comment:

Pre-movie Holmes (online, fanfic-as-fanfic producing) fandom struck me, based on a tiny and probably unrepresentative sample, as being full of queerness. FTM Holmes. Gay subculture-involved Watson. Crossdressing bisexual actresses. Explorations of 19thC sexual identities clearly written by bored students in the same English-for-perverts classes I was taking. A lot of this stuff also struck me as being either more book based or based on a mishmash of many different versions--the expected level of both historical knowledge and Holmes geekery was really quite high. There were footnotes!

Footnotes! All of which to say that Queer Sherlockistan is as interested in uncovering/reworking/noodling over the history and politics of sexuality over time and in many different context as it is the thrill of writing Holmes as a lesbian. Poor Doyle. He would so not approve.
cut for picspamCollapse )

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03 January 2012 @ 12:11 am
Earlier tonight, as I was looking for an Ursula Le Guin short story whose name I can't remember (in which a girl performs her coming-of-age ritual: to lie awake on top of a hill all night long under a clear sky and watch the stars in their rounds***), I came across this translation of Rilke's 8th Duino Elegy. I've never been a Rilke booster (oy is he dramatical and affected and twee and NOT IN A GOOD WAY), but this translation suits me. Her treatment of the Tao Te Ching has always been a favorite - she goes flatfootedly, and it never veers too far into kitsch or the folksy. I love how she breaks into prose after the second stanza. cos it's longCollapse )
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***Not from Earthsea, but maybe one of the Hainish stories? Help a girl out, dear reader of science fiction.

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all_unnecessary
"Please tell me we can tell the difference between wool and sidearms."


Narnia go Bragh

Hooray for the DW Christmas Special, which, to my great pleasure, only briefly and incidentally involves an alien attack on Planet EarthCollapse )
 
 
Current Location: The Mothership!
Current Mood: mommy issues ftw
 
 
all_unnecessary
21 December 2011 @ 01:40 pm
Om bhur bhuvah svah
tat savitur vareṇyaṃ
bhargo devasya dhīmahi
dhiyo yó naḥ pracodayāt


Marvelous rising sun
I bask in your light
May you inspire me*


Happy Solstice, people! Browsing a little popular physics this morning, thinking of the sun god and why I have to get over my annoyance at god-botherers (and accept my own tendencies in that direction, while still struggling against). Go, have a read. We're dancing (and killing each other) on a knife's edge!

If it is the case that "basic properties of our universe are accidental and uncalculable" and that "we must believe in the existence of many other universes" even though "we have no conceivable way of observing these other universes and cannot prove their existence," and that finally "to explain what we see in the world and in our mental deductions, we must believe in what we cannot prove," then I can't get bent out of shape when humans fall prey to that most essential human instinct — to go ahead and explain anyway.

To wonder what if this or that law of our universe were different, to posit an otherwise and find that otherwise completely inimical to life, is to, well, to wonder. To be in awe of the very fact of our existence to wonder about anything anyway. It's all very slippery and you can see why intelligent design physicists (and Ronald D Moore**) might be forgiven for looking for an Other to explain it all. As one ID physicist has it,

“To get our universe, with all of its potential for complexities or any kind of potential for any kind of life-form, everything has to be precisely defined on this knife edge of improbability…. [Y]ou have to see the hands of a creator who set the parameters to be just so because the creator was interested in something a little more complicated than random particles.”


My atheist self is clamoring hard to say, though, that the necessity of belief doesn't entail the necessity of a particular belief. How about we just sit back and praise the state of it. That there is light, water, food, friendship, kindness. Call it Savitr or accident or the Multiverse or grace.

But let's just agree on the wonder of it. Let us take a moment of every day to agree on the wonder of it.

That Mallarmé quote! “Yes, I know, we’re nothing but vain forms of matter – but sublime enough to have invented God and our souls! So sublime, my friend, that I want to give myself over to this spectacle of matter, fully aware of it and nevertheless maniacally dashing forward into the Dream matter knows it isn’t, singing the Soul and all the other divine impressions built up in us since the first ages, and proclaiming, before the Nothingness that is the truth, these glorious lies!”

Physicists need to be reading Mallarmé.



*I like this translation too (from Wiki): "Whoever produced me and the one [who] recites this mantra, let Him save both of us from sinning against each other." Wonderful confusion and profusion of speakers in the structure of that enunciation.
**For those scratching their heads, BSG's opening credits feature the Gayatri Mantra. A wonderful crack in the otherwise generally reifying edifice.
 
 
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19 December 2011 @ 06:06 pm
Over on Crooked Timber, there's a little dust-up regarding Ross Douthat's characterization of Hitchens as the believer's atheist. Having spent so much time with Villiers and Spiritisme, the terrain of the argument is familiar, but this quote tickled me. Apparently it's from John Sladek's book The New Apocrypha (though I can find no text online to confirm) (and now I must read everything Sladek's ever written):

“Houdini’s ghost was not even then allowed to rest. In the same year it was summoned by another medium to Conan Doyle’s home, where, after complaining of the darkness, it said:

‘It seems cruel that a man in my position should have thrown dust in the eyes of people as I did. Since my passing, I have gone to many, many places (mediums) but the door is closed to me. …. When I try to tell people of the real truth, they say I am not the one I claimed to be, because when I was on earth I did not talk that way. I ask you here to send me good thoughts to open the door, not to the spirit world – that cannot be yet – but to give me strength ad power to undo what I denied. …’

"Thus, the man who devoted his life to the cause of spiritualism, by trying to rid it of frauds who feed on grieving hearts, was made to mouth this childish, demented apology."

!! I love me some spiritualists.

Wag in the comment thread: Kingsley Amis...was asked if he was an atheist, and replied “Well, yes, but it’s more that I hate him.”
 
 
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A friend of mine recently returned from summer vacation and brought back with him a mighty, mighty recommendation: watch Misfits, and now. As some of you may know, my Anglophilia knows only the slightest of bounds – Misfits turns out to have been one of them. Or rather, I don't know why I never got around to watching it, after it having been recced to me more than once (waggish? Was that you?), since it's basically designed for my adoration.

  • Fantastic sci-fi premise adroitly plotted and executed? Check.

  • Insightful and well-considered characterizations of its heroes? Check.

  • Freakishly talented actors? Check.

  • Cracking soundtrack? Check.

  • Perfect balance of genre-jamming and fanservice? Check.

  • Urgently needed and timely social commentary? Fucking Check.


Five ASBO kids start their community service on the day a super-power-dispensing storm passes directly over their estate. Way too many people are affected (that is, given characterologically consistent superpowers), including their Probation Worker, whose basic contempt for the kids with whom he works turns homicidal (HULK SMASH CHAVS!).

And thus it begins: cultural stereotypes are literalized and we are all enjoined to sit back, grab some popcorn, and marvel at it. Cos it really is marvelous.

And it hasn't been cancelled! New series on the way this fall!



Warning: this show is so very entertaining you really won’t want to be spoiled. Go watch the first episode (or even the whole frigging two seasons) and come back.I'll wait.Collapse )
 
 
all_unnecessary
20 November 2010 @ 01:04 am
Give me your least favorite revolution, and I shall MACRO it.
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all_unnecessary
19 November 2010 @ 11:43 pm

in einem Hochgefühl
 
 
Current Mood: heh
Current Music: Charles Trenet: Menilmontant
 
 
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19 November 2010 @ 07:33 pm
YAH SORRY I'm going to talk about CapricaCollapse )
 
 
Current Music: Waylon Jennings: Don't Think Twice It's All Right
 
 
all_unnecessary
19 November 2010 @ 12:09 am
BEFORE, AGAIN, BLAH BLAH BLAH


Duran Duran, Avenging Angels (57 BCH)

Challenge: come up with the track titles.
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Current Mood: why the hell not
 
 
all_unnecessary
18 November 2010 @ 08:42 am
1.) Entertaining Spam of the Day:

Hi dear!

Be careful and take a moment to my message!
Iam is Gohar! The purpose of my letter - it started a dialogue with you!
I want to find a man who made me a happy girl!
Please send me an email to my email: xxx@xxxxxx.com

I'll look forward to your response. Your girl Gohar!


2). Went to the UCSC Astronomy and Astrophysics 10th (annual?) Halliday Lecture last night at the Rio Theater, along with nearly 700 fellow Santa Crucians and Jonesy (who visited once more on his way out of California), which featured exoplanet-hunter and awesome stop-motion animator Greg Laughlin (seriously, go to his blog and download his little kumqat/peppercorn eliptical orbit shorts [one, two - both .mov files - don't forget to put it on repeat/loop!]).

Teachers all over the county must have been offering extra credit for attending, yo. I don't remember the last time I was in a line that long. We just barely gained admittance (the last two people in!), thanks I guess to the fact that Wil Wheaton and his entourage didn't cut in line in front of us. Great questions from the audience, including one formal Naval officer who served in the Reagan White House, who kept pushing Laughlin to speculate on the likelihood of extraterrestrial life, given all this new exoplanetary information. Laughlin just wouldn't, the guy kept insisting, Laughlin kept shrugging smilingly with a grand NOPE look on his face. The final question from the audience was from a kid who asked basically the same question, but in 7-year old, and Laughlin called for the Reagan-era SETI enthusiast to come back up. Very corny, very fun, like all good popularizers of science.

The rest of the evening consisted of scrabble (I lost by something like 8 points - Jonesy's total after his second turn was, wouldn't you know it, 47), a few hours of sleep, and then a drive up Empire Grade after moonset out of the foggy soup to catch the last of the Leonids. ~40 was the count, I believe.

3.) Amusing Macro of the Day, from fengi.
 
 
Current Mood: billions of billions
Current Music: Clint Mansell: Can't Get There from Here
 
 
 
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11 November 2010 @ 10:47 am
 
 
Current Location: dancy
Current Mood: hate em cept when i'm in em
 
 
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10 November 2010 @ 09:05 pm
"There is no occasion to be hard on Aristotle. He had read few novels and no modern ones." E.M. Forster

Term of art: salami tactics

Multiple filtering nodes still including Utah ftw: This, by San Franciscan youngun Ty Segall, is on high rotation on KRCL, for which I'm glad.


Blowup, dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966.

Finally got around to watching this. Couldn't help but think of this otherwise unremarkable quote (from literary critic Jan Miel) while rewatching the above scene: "the slightly fading remembrance of the tone just heard...makes of the none now being heard, and of the tones yet to come, a melody, a temporal object." I seem to have a thing for cameras following people. Or the backs of heads.
 
 
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10 November 2010 @ 06:16 pm
So the one place I knew to buy Method brand Wood Cleaner (CVS), which I love because it smells like root beer, has long discontinued carrying it. And thus have I been forced to patronize Whole Fkn Foods (who does carry it).

No matter the city, it's always a hipster meat market, and those over 25 are asshats driving big luxury SUV-type, between-a-sedan-and-a-minivan whatsits (and there's usually somebody sitting in it, waiting, with the engine running). As I was attempting to mount my bike and ride away, in an empty parking space, some jerk in a Volvo nearly ran me over - did not stop entering the parking space - and I had to do some fancy pedaling.



But I also picked up a bottle of pinot grigio, which I only noticed featured this very nice owl on its label once I got home. So there's that.
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all_unnecessary
05 November 2010 @ 11:09 pm
Went to the de Young today without having purchased a ticket in advance and got into the Post-Impressionist exhibit without incident, after I saw the permanent collection. I forgot they had three Diebenkorns, and I didn't remember at all encountering Nicholas Oliveira's "Walking Mime," which is just marvelous! (Can't find an image online that isn't all rights reserved, so go here.) I love that period.

The Post-Impressionism exhibit was nice, though overstuffed with paintings and people - turns out it was member appreciation day. They were all very accommodating of each other's (and my!) need to stand and stare at a painting, but just too many people! I kept thinking cynical thoughts about mousepads and then chastising myself for being uncharitable.

I had a very strong reaction when I got into the Van Gogh room - *immediately* verklempt. First thing I saw was Starry Night over the Rhone, over a sea of heads. Had to stuff my sweater sleeve into my mouth to keep from crying. Weird! Went into the next room and stared at Emile Bernard's "Madeleine au Bois d'Amour" until I was sure I wouldn't sob on anyone.


Madeleine in the Wood Between The Worlds

Went back, started welling up again. On reflection, I think I was remembering that ridiculous episode of Doctor Who - would you believe it. I am really susceptible to sentimentalism! [NB: don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful episode for Dr. ?, but still, to get hit with the emotion like a friggin sledgehammer in public, ah, well. I have a very low threshhold apparently!]
 
 
Current Mood: 1888 was a very good year
Current Music: Various Artists: Basque Country/ Etsenko Nausiaren Osagarriari
 
 
all_unnecessary
04 November 2010 @ 09:12 am
Someone who swears as much as me!

Tuckerite screening deviceCollapse )
 
 
Current Mood: lazylazy
 
 
all_unnecessary
02 November 2010 @ 10:14 am
I walked to my polling place this morning, which is across the freeway and in what counts as an industrial zone in SC. A mixture of businesses, but relatively few homes: Costco, the main Goodwill receiving and distribution center, a homeless shelter (the main one for families in SC), Plantronics, Graniterock and its tower. Not very many sidewalks, and many gaps in those. A place during the pedestrian traverse of which requiring a wary kind of sociability: too friendly, too much eye-contact with those you encounter makes for an uncomfortable silence (as far as it is possible in the four or five seconds it takes to pass by). Too little feels disrespectful, especially as this isn't your neighborhood. Near the train tracks, people with packs and bundles; near the industrial campuses, gardeners (who are surprised to see you) and straggling cubicle jockeys (who are also surprised but also suspcious).

And everywhere automobiles. Mostly it's fancy crew-cab V8s that thunder by, all of which seem oblivious to your presence only until you get in their way (and then they seem to accelerate toward you). I'm more comfortable cycling through this neighborhood than I am walking, because the automobile traffic here seems to know better how to behave vehicularly with a bicycle than a lowly footer. The crosswalk (and I use that word advisedly) at the big intersection of River Street and Hwy 1 is a terribly exposing location for a walker to wait - if ever you had any delusions of our culture (our world!) not being absolutely car-oriented, here is where you would be disabused of them. Try it sometime: find the most pedestrian-unfriendly intersection in your area and try to cross it by foot. You'll find yourself in some physical danger and the eye-contact you get from drivers will be confused and vaguely bashful at best, confrontational at worst.

While being a carless person means you won't spend an appreciable percentage of your time looking for parking and a solid chunk of your paycheck on insurance and gas and tires etc., it also means you're liable to be taken for a homeless person. Because in one very real sense, to be without a car is to be without a home: the car, for the first world at least, is a dwelling place as much as (and perhaps more than) a means of transportation.

Somewhat related: I heard a guy singing to himself as he biked along Cedar Street the other day. It was reassuring - I'm not the only one! You people in cars get to do it, and so do we.
 
 
Current Mood: *hates cars*
 
 
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01 November 2010 @ 07:47 pm
Given the news that Caprica has been cancelled, your average BSG fan is left with either sending an apple to SyFy or participating in FAVORITE CHARACTER POLLS. I have chosen the latter. (Favorite Head!Character: Head!Gaius, because he slays me, he really does.)

I should be figuring out for whom I'm going for city council. People are predicting dire things, and I just don't want to think about it. I'll vote, and then I'll run for a cave.

What else? I should also do a big post about this past weekend, as it was of a comparable size. Short version: awesome 39th birthday, for it being the third time. More later.

I crack myself up sometimes.Collapse )
 
 
Current Mood: ruby racks
Current Music: Sonny Rollins: I'm An Old Cowhand (Alt. Take)
 
 
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31 October 2010 @ 11:28 am
Item  
My ISP is mentioned in Jonathan Franzen's new book.
 
 
Current Mood: true story!
 
 
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29 October 2010 @ 10:06 am
I find I am accidentally celebrating steampunk month, having, uh, fortuitously picked up the weird and lovely Thunderer by Felix Gilman. Haven't really been into the genre since the early 90s and "Walt and Emily," it never really grabbed me (though I love Rudy Rucker's The Hollow Earth). But if this is steampunk now, sign me up!

One reviewer over on GoodReads sums it up: "a good addition to the 'baroque neo-fantasy set in dickensian city' genre." Though I would say it owes more to Balzac and Stendhal and Hugo than to Dickens, however punny and symbological the proper names of the characters. And yes, so it features street urchins, you're going to make a federal case of it? What's a good steampunk novel without rapscallions?

What I'm liking about it is how it takes a pressing expositional question of steampunk (*why* is the technology at that level, what's the excuse for those ridiculous goggles and dirigibles and and and) and gives it a religious answer: The gods have the tech and inflict it on the world arbitrarily. It takes the sacred and the secular and renders them as the numinous (the fractal?) and the.... Well, it's hard to put the second half of the binary into one word. "Mechanical," you could say, perhaps in a defiant, so-big-deal-it's-a-cliché tone. "Mechanical," in the sense of machinations, the sometimes craven but always helpless-to-do-otherwise maneuverings of mortals. Shikata Ga Nai, then - when the constraints of one's situation allow only one course of action. I would like to see Thoreau dropped into this world.

One of the three main characters, Arjun (who's got the "sublimities" part of the balzacian "sublimities and degradations" covered), has a landlady who's straight out of Pere Goriot—on the surface at least. Below, she's more the heroine of one of Wilde's tales. Read the following, and tell me you wouldn't expect me to love this extravagantly (I dare you). I can't be *sure* that the author hasn't read Benjamin (and Stendhal and Zola and Flaubert), but it seems very likely he has.

The story of Madam Defour, then:Collapse )
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all_unnecessary
28 October 2010 @ 07:52 pm
is choking! Someone give that man a Xanax.


ETA: wish I'd been there!

I love the entirely-earned sentimentality of this:

It's not over, of course. The Giants, you could tell, were at pains to avoid uttering any word or gesture that hinted at a feeling of completion.

It's not over. Game 3 is Saturday. Everything could change swiftly.

"We've seen weird things happen," Huff said. "We're going to their place. They're going to be fired up. Their fans have been waiting for a long time for this, too. They're going to be loud."

But I don't think it will feel like it felt at about 8 o'clock Thursday, in this park, at that moment in time, when the music stopped, and everybody kept singing.

It has never felt like that before. You knew that when it happened. Everybody did.
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all_unnecessary
28 October 2010 @ 10:08 am
Comment, and I will produce an amusing portrait/image macro/picspam from a cultural object in the brow of your choice (low/middle/high).

(meme creator = wolodymyr)
 
 
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YAH SORRY I'm going to talk about SpiritedCollapse )
 
 
Current Music: The Clean: Platypus
 
 
all_unnecessary
19 October 2010 @ 06:47 pm
The world seems crazier and crazier every day I live in it. Saturday I volunteered for a mail-in-the-ballot-vote phone drive for the NO ON 23 folks, used their new-fangled internet/landline robo-articulator whatchacallit. People were almost entirely pleasant, and the one who wasn't was at least polite. It was moderately heartening. But then I get online and pop a vein or two: "do some people in the petroleum industry support us? You bet! … And we’re very thankful for their support!" says a YES ON 23 hack. In post-2008 news, Bear Stearns sold mortgages over and over again. There's a Merrie Melodies mashup in there somewhere, with all the pigs showing up at once to throw Goldilocks out and the wolf prevaricating and stalling testifying to Congress. Also, the least awful of all the notably awful news of late: meet Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, the new PMDD.

I want to live in another world. Can I move here, please? It seems impossible to create it here from available materials. I just want my wormhole to another dimension, kthxbye.

Unrelated: This is a competent review of the new, Steven Moffatt-penned Sherlock Holmes. Upshot: worth your time! I could be pressed into doing a YAH SORRY for it.

Also unrelated: On the shark-like social economics of hipsterdom: "Hipsters cannot afford to maintain any cultural loyalties or affiliations for fear they will lose relevance." Tangentially related, and not very notable, but I feel for some unknown reason I must tell you: BFF #7 used to call me the Friend of the Hipster, which made her the Friend of the Friend of the Hipster. Do with this information what you will.
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Current Mood: belle epoque my ass!
 
 
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15 October 2010 @ 12:55 pm
To The Best of Our Knowledge on DFW (12 Sep 2010).


Via boingboing

More on ant colonies!

WANT: Felix Gilman's The Half-Made World, encountered via a review at Crooked Timber. Interested to see how it might stack up against Schroeder.

There's a post about my penultimate visit to UCSF brewing for later.
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all_unnecessary
11 October 2010 @ 10:33 am

It's a doggy dog world...
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all_unnecessary
06 October 2010 @ 06:56 pm
I love this news story for its kitsch: A heretofore unknown Boldini portrait was discovered and sold for 2 million euros, found after having been shut away in a woman's flat that itself had gone unvisited for 70 years. It feels Spielbergian, this story. "Il y avait une odeur de vieille poussière, on adore ça."

CLIQUEZ-VOUSCollapse )

The dead woman's grandmother was the subject of the portrait, "an actress of exceptional beauty who went by the name of Marthe de Florian, enshrouded in a pale pink mousseline evening dress."

Boldini, it shall be remembered, was "the Master of Swish" and painted the portrait of Victor Hugo's granddaughter and her son. Celebutants avant le lettre! Ralph Fiennes should play Boldini, Kate Winslet the demimondaine.

I wonder whether ANYONE at all had been inside the flat in all those years. It's not clear what the "upkeep fees" that this article mentions would buy you. Just getting someone to make sure no-one squats? Or hiring someone to maintain the dwelling, keeping it ready for immediate occupation at any moment? For SEVENTY YEARS. (If it's the latter, they weren't dusting!) I wonder how many apartments like this in the great cities of the world are out there, unvisited and forgotten to everyone but accountants and bookkeepers (and possibly building supers)? Oh I feel twelve again.

In other news, I did not know that Keannu did not, until recently, know about the Sad Keanu meme. It's like the Ray Bradbury thing: "he's still alive?" one asks oneself occasionally. Via boingboing.

And xkcd creates the Newyorkeristan Poster for the twentytens. "People You Can't Unfriend" "Sea of Zero (0) Comments"

Cat and Girl are selling BY JONATHAN FRANZEN stickers, for use on pulpy mass market paperbacks by hipsters on public transportation, yo.
 
 
 
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04 October 2010 @ 05:14 pm
1. I think my stylist at SuperCuts today, who over the course of twenty five minutes produced ever-wilder stories of tormented brothers (the last a foster brother raised with her in a Mormon home who later dropped out of BYU to become a polygamist and later-er imprisoned for life for marrying three girls the youngest of whom was ten years old) might have been a pathological liar. Couldn't confirm, however, as I am blind without my glasses.

2. Friday Night Lights! I understand football now.

3. It's finally cold here. The rain will soon wash away the stink of alcohol-soaked bum and fast-food-fueled tourist effluvia from the streets and river levee. Soon!

4. 90s nostalgia for 70s nostalgia for the Regency period picspam under the cutCollapse )

5. Regarding Joanna Newsom's most recent record: I am pleased to find she finally took my advice and listened to Laura Nyro. Soft as Chalk! I hear Joni ("Hissing of Summer Lawns") and Kristin Hersch and Nina Simone, too. !!
 
 
all_unnecessary
24 September 2010 @ 06:53 pm
Last night I got a third of the way through Far From Heaven (which I saw twice in the theater when it came out) before I gave up, broke down, and dug out my copy of All That Heaven Allows. On third viewing, it compared so ill to Sirk and Mad Men that I wondered what I'd liked in the first place.

Watching it on Netflix Instant Watch was a bad idea. The poor video quality really punched the density of color, which turned his, uh, loving tribute to Sirkean visual symbolism into clowny, ranty moralizing. I remembered Julianne Moore's acting being subtler, too, her character more sympathetic - this go-round even (season one) Betty Draper is less of a doormat in comparison. But I don't think Mad Men would be what it was without this film, and The Hours, at least in terms of its gender politics.

Back to Sirk's film, whose moralizing about class I find very much less annoying, however broad the transcendentalist beam with which it wangs you on the head (and uses with wooden horses as a table on which to have a multicultural feast). It's so corny, and I don't mind! Speaking of howevers: "however measured or far away" - that line always gets me. And the use of lighting when they're at the window of his barn/bachelor pad. Ach!

What else. I keep thinking about last week's Mad Men, and all those women surrounding Sally Draper. I will have to do a monster YAH SORRY post soon - I've had only the most passing of interest in MM prior to this season, but this season has been astounding, at least since ep 4. This show and Warehouse 13 (sorry, grashupfer*) have some of the strongest writing for women I've seen on tv.

Also: got carded at the grocery store.** I said, you have got to be kidding me. He said, you are looking particularly youthful today. I did not say, That usually works for you, then?, and left. Seriously, how could anyone take me for a 20 year old?

In other news, Bill Maher is a douche-nozzle (or Ben Stein is [or something]):
We don't hate rich people, but have a little humility about how you got it and stop complaining. Maybe the worst whiner of all: Stephen Schwarzman, #69 on Forbes' list of richest Americans, compared Obama's tax hike to "when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939." Wow. If Obama were Hitler, Mr. Schwarzman, I think your tax rate would be the least of your worries.
Via boingboing, where the comment pool is lulzy.

And finally, from our tl;dr correspondent, McSweeney's transcript of DVD commentary on Return of the King by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky is sadly fictional, and sadly fictional. I can't tell if it's smug, as McSweeney's generally is, or brilliant. CHOMSKY: Mordor, the "dark land." Which you correctly pointed out before we began should be properly known as Orcistan. el oh el.




*at least i think it was you who couldn't get through a single ep. please to be correcting me.
**by someone not more than 5 years older than me
 
 
Current Music: a murder of crows did circle round
 
 
all_unnecessary
22 September 2010 @ 11:22 pm
One hour left in this time zone to commemorate Maurice Blanchot's birthday.

Quel est le lieu où vous n’êtes pas séparée de moi?

September 22, 1907-February 20, 2003
 
 
Current Music: Carter Family: John Hardy
 
 
all_unnecessary
21 September 2010 @ 09:56 pm
1. The shit-eating grin on Colbert's face as he introduced the Pavements last night. If ever you needed confirmation that your life was fkn rad, having them on your show would probably do the trick.

1a. Malkmus' reply to the question of biggest influence: Reagan.

2. My friend SK playing his viola da gamba. He's writing pop songs on that thing.

3. This piece on Treme and the challenges it faces in upcoming seasons, how difficult it might be to show institutional failure when so few of the main characters are functionaries of those institutions:
Neither form of generalized blame—of unsympathetic outsiders like Bush or unreliable insiders like Davis—is as useful as the story of what actually happened would be.... As good as it is at effects, Treme isn’t so good at causes—of the immediate disaster, and of its seemingly never-ending aftermath.

4. The feeling of befuddlement at the emotionally flat last thirty seconds of this week's Mad Men. I get the composedness of it, but bleah, it falls flat. I feel like the show is at its best when it doesn't try to create Eggleston anew - that there is no subject more replete with implication than the mundane is something the show knows and has shown us throughout its run. Kind of tired of it. Don't know how they'd have ended it otherwise, though. Foreboding enough, I guess.

cut for picspamCollapse )

4a. Joyce! Who can do things a man can't!

5. The segment on today's Radio Lab on falling in love with a prosopagnosiac.

6. When memes hit maximum saturation:

 
 
all_unnecessary
08 September 2010 @ 11:57 pm
can't you see we're at gentlemen
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all_unnecessary
27 August 2010 @ 07:19 pm
but i cannot believe the set of balls on glenn beck.
 
 
all_unnecessary
20 August 2010 @ 10:54 am
As everyone on the internet is reminding me, it's HP Lovecraft's 120th birthday! Callooh Callay!



It's also my little brother's birthday, who is nothing like Lovecraft (whew!).
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all_unnecessary
06 August 2010 @ 08:52 pm
you'll be daffy and I'll be dilly, we'll order up two bowls of chili

Too bad the following is the only instance of what I thought was the George Jones version of the song I could find on youtube (on a tiny vintage record player).



You need it loud for dancing. And I'm preferring the George Jones version still, so here it is.
 
 
all_unnecessary
24 July 2010 @ 12:44 pm
pride and extreme prejudiceCollapse )
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all_unnecessary
23 July 2010 @ 06:55 pm
You should go to this: Ed Emberly exhibition in Culver City through August 7. Ed Emberley displays his original 1970's mockups alongside five grown-up artists who were influenced by him. I don't remember him explicitly from childhood, myself (reminds me of the Chucks-wearing monster from Merry Melodies). Those with children are advised to check him the hell out.



Happy Sasquatch. Via boingboing.