|. . . 2013-12-05|
So I checked email a couple of hours ago and saw that rare event, an important message from GOOGLE PLUS:
Google+ Auto Awesome
2 Auto Awesome photos were added
So I clicked the link and sure enough, the picture I took on the week of my father's death was now covered by animated snowflakes.
|. . . 2013-12-02|
The lineaments of Gratified Desire are very round.
Oh 'Gratified' not 'Garfield.' Took me a moment.
Un-gratified desire, however, has got that razor-sharp crease
|. . . 2013-12-01|
An appeal to an artwork's realism, its roots in reality, is an appeal not to its accuracy at registering facts but to the depth of its claim upon us. The claim is not, 'this is the real world', but rather, 'this is your world'.- Josh Kortbein, josh blog
Career tip: flatter your readers by telling them they're "made of stories".
Some days I wake up sick to death of language.
As for fiction.
99.999999% of the "conversation" is rhetoric so bad you don't know whether to choke or laugh.
You look around in despair for some state that doesn't include the use of language.
"Made of stories." Bland, meaningless crap.
Noncommunicative actions, impossible to to turn into language & thus not subject to constant mild but slimy abuse. Where are they?
- M. John Harrison, Twitter
“Oh, I’ve said, ‘You can't describe it. You'd have to be there.’ But that’s my first wife telling her mother-in-law about the time we went to Persia. And that isn’t what I mean.”
Kid smiled back and wished he hadn’t.
It isn’t his moon I distrust so much, he thought, as it is that first wife in Persia.
- Samuel R. Delany, Dhalgren
That last can do double duty as our review of Gravity (2013).
|. . . 2013-11-30|
"The cat is in the box and the box is indeterminate."
thinking outside the cat?
Traffic cop Hotzmeister: "Mr Totzinger, did you know that you have a dead cat in your trunk?" Totzinger: "Well I do now."
|. . . 2013-11-23|
Carol Reed had a knack for depicting horny Nice-by-their-own-assessment Guys whose lust is neither reciprocated nor refuted by its target, and his signature suspense anticipates a crisis of extortion and humiliation. Ralph Bellamy without his angelic harmlessness; Guy Kibbee without the safe distance of the gargoyle; Joan Blondell with the powerlessness of Joan Blondell. That's the startle of the real in Reed's quota quickie; that's Reed's highest-stakes modification to Graham Greene's condescending entertainment: the unreassuring observation of incompatible fantasies at close quarters.
Leo G. Carroll, on the other hand...
Yes, it's a pity that Carroll couldn't join Charles Ruggles and Edward Everett Horton for Trouble in Paradise's survey of male territoriality.
|. . . 2013-11-09|
It is little wonder, then, that people tend to move from a belief in determinism to a belief in fatalism and to an attitude of resignation, for they may be conflating determinism with predictability. The right response is to distinguish more clearly between determinism and predictability.- "From Determinism to Resignation; and How to Stop It" by Richard Holton,
Decomposing the Will, ed. Andy Clark, Julian Kiverstein & Tillman Vierkant. Oxford, 2013.
Well, hey. At that time I lacked easy access to the relevant citations, and so assumed I'd veered into an established fire-access road off the layperson highway. Instead, my cri de W. may have been as original as all these stupid obvious jokes I don't find in a websearch. (However much that is.)
Aside from the usual (and far from trivial!) pleasure of being proven disposable, I enjoyed Holton's assurance that the catastrophe of complete predictability isn't imminent. (Other catastrophes, sure, but not complete predictability.) As the NSA recently re-established, in a social universe, no matter how much you know as an individual — even if you're a CEO, or a Big Ten-Inch Data Czar, or indeed The very Girl herself — someone will make it their business to surprise you. Omniscience may or may not be compatible with consciousness but it surely isn't compatible with company.
Re the kleenex man, I'm glad his dog still believes in him.
Two, or more, omniscients knowing their difference(s) as really the only interesting stuff around
Doesn't that relate more to creation ex nihilo than to omniscience?
|. . . 2013-10-29|
The lyric is
In a sense, this three-word capitalized line is even more of a shuck than Zukofsky's sentence-cased fiver: Zukofsky crams in hyphenated compounds; Friedlander hyphenates at will over line breaks.
But regular lineation which intensifies semantic and sensual effects must fit some sense of poetic meter, and in that sense Friedlander improves on his inspiration. (As Friedlander himself demonstrated before the book was finalized.) A line cut to the beat or the rhyme, or prose broken at emotional paragraphs, lets my eye, ear, and consciousness coast: I see the corner and what I sense in the walk is my target. Here, to slacken is to jump the track. The abrupt stops and noisy starts force focus to stretch the length of the lyric. I need to sound out the sentences to make them cohere.
And they always cohere. (One of the few obscurities was revealed as ekphrastic by a photo posted to Facebook. No things but with ideas.) Friedlander keeps his bow tightly strung between speech and music, never ascending to noise or nonsense. A game without stakes is not his game; neither is grabbing the pot and diving for the door.
Zukofsky came of age while Pound and Eliot were in full strut; Friedlander in the Language-era Bay Area, and, among other things, One Hundred Etudes studies his contemporaries. Aside from some readymades and conceptual stunts, hilo-brow punning is the tonic note; the anti-paratactic pointedness and concision are Friedlander's own — even more concise and aphoristic than Mark Scroggins's arithmetic suggests, since several individually numbered etudes are sequences of separately titled pieces. (Number Twenty-Six, for example, is an abecedarian arrangement of twenty-six sentences "for Ron Silliman"; number Thirty is a set of thirty tiny lyrics "for Robert Creeley.")
The effect is sharp but weighty, determined in multiple senses. Friedlander worked on One Hundred Etudes through the 2000s, when our country flipped out of its slowly descending handbasket into pure plunge. And this to date is my favorite poetic response: no inane pronouncements, just expression, expeller pressed.
Proper packaging, too: 6" x 4.5" x 1," a small sturdy block ready for incision. Or a Little Big Book, ready to be stuffed in a stocking or dropped in an acknowledged legislator's jacket pocket.
|. . . 2013-10-20|
|. . . 2013-10-05|
“Article One. No individual of any rank or condition may in future lend or borrow books except within his own family, and this privilege will extend in direct line only to the third generation, and collaterally only to the first cousin once removed, known also as a Breton cousin or cousin-germain; the penalty is a fine of five hundred livres, payable to the author of said book.
“Article Two. His Majesty forbids all lackeys, waiting-women, coachmen, kitchen-maids, scullions, chefs, and cooks to lend each other the books of their respective masters, and even more strongly does he proscribe their carrying these books without asking permission from one house to the next: and this, under pain of a year’s wages. And anyone who cannot pay this fine, should be branded on the left ear with the letters ‘L.O.B.,’ Lender Of Books; and then whipped at the doorstep of every bookseller in town.
“Article Three. His Majesty nevertheless permits his subjects to petition the Permanent Secretary of his Academy for a dispensation to buy and to read aloud books in private rooms, although not to carry these books away with them; the said Permanent Secretary will issue this permit in the form of a bull for a given number of years, or for life.
“Article Four. The Permanent Secretary shall be authorized to sell this bull at the same prices as a Crusade Bull, and to excommunicate from literature any person who does not make such a purchase once in a lifetime; without such excommunications affecting those made by bishops and curates within the kingdom.
“Articles Five and Six … up to 100,000, as the Minister may wish; His Majesty ordains that the present decree be registered in every literary Academy and society within the kingdom, and posted where necessary. Done in the Council of State, in His Majesty’s presence, at …”
While awaiting the government’s issuance of this decree or one like it, I have devised a way to end the swindle. My solution is to have this book bound in calfskin, with gilt edges, and forbid my bookseller to sell stitched brochure copies; and thus, on my own authority, plenary power, and positive science, I forbid the aforesaid *** to sell my work in loose pages, in boards, or stitched in marble paper or even sewn in blue, on pain of being denounced to posterity and my contemporaries as a pirate and thief: all this, for the very first work I produce. Ha! Ha! …
Your impatience is growing by leaps and bounds, but I had every right to take care of my own interests, before satisfying yours: every man for himself. No — I refuse to be a martyr to foolish impartiality, neglecting my own affairs. I admit I chat a bit about myself: but where do you find an author who forgets himself in his work? Mine is the contemporary style.
- from “Chapter Thirteen: Various Projects Highly Important to the Public Weal”
of The Bohemians, written in the Bastille between 1784 and 1788
by Anne Gédéon Lafitte, Marquis de Pelleport,
& convincingly translated by Vivian Folkenflik in 2010
|. . . 2013-08-19|
As a life-long autodidact with no knack for lecture-hall learning, I of course continue to welcome any aid offered my more-or-less beleaguered people. But I can't help but think of the many more, and possibly more-more-and-less-less beleaguered, allodidacts I've known, and can't help but reflect that the attention being poured into MOOCdom might be more effectively and sustainably directed towards expansion of public libraries and the public domain.
"More effectively" by number of autodidacts aided, that is; perhaps not so effective at funneling public funds into private corporations and academic funds into software development.
the libraries are where they install the computers for logging on to the moocsPeli writes:
Ned Hall makes a similar case.
|. . . 2013-08-18|
For the first time in thirty years I live in a neighborhood nobody calls "dicey," so it makes perfect sense that we've been burgled twice.
|. . . 2013-08-03|
A rare interview with Banksy
The funniest bit was Shepard Fairey accusing some guy of being a no-talent self-promoter.
|. . . 2013-07-28|
Movies which convincingly capture — well, capture's too intent a word: conviction requires contingency; let's instead say catch, as one might catch a cold while trying to catch the train. Aside from any other goals, met or unmet, movies which convincingly catch a sense of place (early novelties, silent ethnographies, human-interest newsreels, home movies, low-budget ’70s exploitation) always convey the sorrow of time irretrievable, narratives interrupted, the ever-mounting and finally unpayable cost of the contingency we're watching.
Fruitvale Station convincingly catches a sense of place.
So... should I see it? Or watch more avant-garde Eastern European flicks instead? (And then write essays for MUBI about them.)
Oh, you should see it. Pretend it's in Daco-Romanian and you'll even be able to write an essay for MUBI.
|. . . 2013-07-22|
Karen Joy Fowler : Ever since I came into the field, there have been long discussions, sometimes in my presence, sometimes not, over whether I belong or not, with heartfelt decisions on both sides. And I'm happy to be here, so.... Often people ask me do I think I write science fiction, or do I think I write fantasy. In my heart, I think that's not my job to answer that question. So mostly I try to determine which answer is going to piss the person who's asked me off less. If you tell me I don't, I won't argue with you, and if you tell me I do, I won't argue with you. I do feel strongly, however, that whatever it is I am writing, the kind of audience I'm writing it for is the science fiction audience. It's a kind of reader that I see more inside the field than outside it, a reader who likes a challenge, a reader who likes to solve puzzles and problems, a very engaged reader. And so the most honest answer I can give is I don't know if I write science fiction or fantasy, but I'm writing for science fiction and fantasy readers.- from "The Coode Street Podcast" Episode 94,
hosted by Jonathan Stahan & Gary K. Wolfe
|. . . 2013-07-21|
I'd hoped to leave some marker on the occasion of this venture's fourteenth anniversary, but dayjob. Sister Jeanne Deroin and brother Louis Gabriel Gauny have kindly offered to speak for me:
“I was never familiar with the joys of infancy or the games of early childhood. From the time I learned to read, reading became my sole occupation and the charm of my every moment. I felt a vague desire to experience and know everything. God and religion had aroused my attention most of all, but the mobility of my ideas kept me from focusing my attention on one object for a long time. Weary of searching without understanding, I compared and related what was said to me or what was taught me by books to fairy tales. Still too young to appreciate my social position, I was happy. The future seemed bright and gracious. I saw myself rich with the treasures of learning. The necessity of working made me realize that I, without wealth, would have to give up learning, give up happiness. I resigned myself....”
“As he heads for his workplace, this man has a singular mien. Anger hatches in his glance. As he bounds along like a rebel slave,. one would think he was hastening to sign a pact to wipe out his oppressor. When he arrives at the place, the battle begins. First, his poor musculature, somewhat rested from sleep, is focused relentlessly on the task. Giving way to habit and overflowing with solidarity, the worker conscientiously applies himself to doing the job right. Given over momentarily to the inner satisfaction of useful work, he forgets his surroundings. His arms work, some craft detail is done pleasingly, he keeps going. An hour slips by.... he works violently to achieve the intoxication of oblivion. For a moment he manages to distance himself from the resentful feelings of his implacable memory. He works furiously. A living machine, he gains for the profit of his proprietor what he loses at the expense of his own strength.”- from The Nights of Labor: The Workers’ Dream in Nineteenth Century France
by Jacques Rancière, translated by John Drury
The contracting years were better in some ways:
“The worker, who has not been winded by the exactness of the hour, considers his task for a moment as he prepares to undertake its sound execution. Nothing about his tools repels him; it is with a sort of affection that he handles them. Abandoning himself to the riches of his liberty, he is never made gloomy by his workplaces or the time he must spend there... He does not dread the abhorrent gaze of the master or the time signals that force the other workers to break up their conversation and hurry under the yoke. On the job one effort excites another, the movements follow one another in a straight and spirited way. Lured toward the conclusion of the work, he is taken up by the charm as he kills boredom: that awful cancer that gnaws the soul of the day-laborer....
“Made feverish by action, he finds that the hours roll by quickly. His task, which he fecundates as he accelerates it, is a magnetism that dominates his thinking from morning to evening and ensures that he devours time, whereas the day-laborer is devoured by it.”
And not in others:
“He is overwhelmed with indifference and unproductive matters. He is the one that the entrepreneur sacrifices to his day-laborers. Before anything else the entrepreneur readies work for them and neglects the jobber, whose lost time in no way hurts the entrepreneur. If some unproductive piece of work crops up, he imposes it on the jobber; and it is always the jobber that he satisfies last, enclosing him in the exigencies of a finished task without any concern for the hours and pains he expends on it.”
Btw This is how you look like? I'm sure everybody already tells you all the time, but you're a dead ringer for David McComb
Thanks! Yeah, a couple of years before I started serially self-publishing, back in my thirties when I could still wear contacts. And nah; I've heard Ralph Fiennes, and some heavy metal singers I don't know, and (for schnozzola alone) Pete Townshend, but never David McComb.
|. . . 2013-06-25|
It's good to be reminded that appalling people sometimes sing like birds. But then it's good to be reminded that man is not a bird.
|. . . 2013-06-16|
Je souhaite dans ma maison:
Un lion rugissant sa raison,
Une chèvre, qui mange de toute sorte
Et dort en paix, comme une poule morte.
CONSUMER ALERT: We watched this last night, and neither Goat nor Dead Hen appear! Dead Duck and Zebra do OK jobs, I guess, but anyone who buys this hoping to enjoy another signature turn by Dead Hen or Goat will be very disappointed!
|. . . before . . .||. . . after . . .|
Copyright to contributed work and quoted correspondence remains with the original authors.
Public domain work remains in the public domain.
All other material: Copyright 2013 Ray Davis.