Has there ever been a diary with a sense of humor?
Last night someone discovered that the BART bike lockers are inflammable.
Debt before dishonor: We call him La Traviata because he's dying of consumption.
There are many funny people in the world. More than anything else -- except giant insects.
Gimlets are metal: Gins and Roses
Although jarring in practice, schematically it makes perfect sense for the Blue Fairy to be the most realistically drawn human character in Pinocchio: to be "human" is something to aspire to, something that's supposed to be a higher state than that of mere animation.
Things that scare me: the wanton collapsing of inconsistent belief systems. E.g., from "Here Comes Santa Claus": "Santa knows that we're God's children; that makes everything right.... So let's give thanks to the Lord above that Santa Claus is coming tonight."
Artists who complain that the creator must by definition understand the "intent" of their works more than anyone else don't understand that we don't mean our disagreement as an insult. On the contrary: that's precisely the difference between "art" and "self-expression," that the artifact can't be reduced to the formula used by the creator. Who cares if Jackson Pollock's works' value as ornamentation (e.g., its use in Vogue) seems to conflict with the rhetoric used by him and some of his supporters? The work is ornamental, and thus proves itself to be more than rhetoric.
In production: Caesar Salad, a controversial look at the fascinating Coppola family, starring Nicolas Cage as Nicky Coppola and any L.A. film school graduate as a stocky egotistical guy with a beard.
Cholly on Software:
"We are a million-year-old beast," he said. "Interfaces will have to mimic how the real world works." One of the ways to do that is to use objects that represent real-world things, like radio dials and on-screen controls for a software application, he said.Radio dials are a million years older than computers? That way lies the QuickTime 4 Player....
Inflammable: De grumpigus non est disputandum.
When a man profits from the unacknowledged labor of men, it's exploitation; when a woman profits from the unacknowledged labor of women, it's a feminist victory.
First the tide rushes in,
Then the tide rushes out,
Then the tide rushes in,
Then the tide rushes out again.
Like this tide
Is that tide,
And the prior
Like the next,
For all tides
Act like tides,
Since that is how they've earned the name of tide.
There's so much more to life than doing your job and thinking about others.
Guys are most comfortable focusing on contact when it's blunted: Straight sailors blind drunk. Poor little kittens with glued-on mittens.
Haitian Kreyol: "My idea doesn't tell me to..." means "I don't want to." "We" and "you plural" are expressed by the same word ("nou"): the plural involved in the conversation as opposed to the plural outside it.
I dreamt last night that I was at Yale. The event calendar for incoming students listed "Randy Newman. Earthquake - 8 PM." I was impressed that they knew when the earthquake was going to be, but then someone told me it was the name of a club.
If formaldehyde can preserve this pig fetus for twenty years, just imagine how well it'll preserve your hair's natural shine!
In its final scene, 1943's Old Acquaintance brilliantly explains away its own trashiness by ascribing the story's authorship to the movie's talentless hack writer rather than to its artistic one.
Just this morning I realized that when Elvis sang "Won't you wear my ring around your neck?" he was talking about stringing the ring and then putting the string around your neck. All these decades I assumed he was talking some iron slave collar thing, which made the song hillbilly and spooky and cool. Instead it turns out just to've been part of the domestication process.
Marriage is like when you give a kid an extravagant present and all it wants to do is get inside the box.
Speaking of Turner Classic Movies.... College football may not seem tailor-made for the Rodgers-and-Hart treatment, but 1940's Too Many Girls is the best available record of the team's work. Unlike earlier translations (in which rights to the musicals were bought by moguls who then stripped out the songs because musicals are box-office poison) and later ones (which suffocated under tons of papier-mâché production values), "Too Many Girls" cakewalked directly from Broadway to Hollywood with score, arrangements, jitterbugging, newspaper headlines ("Pottawottomie U. Defeats Texas Gentiles"), and cast mostly intact. Desi Arnez is cute as a sweaty button singing "Spick-and-Span-ish," Ann Miller pounds her legs like Cassandra predicting Pearl Harbor, Lucille Ball is dubbed, Eddie Bracken enjoys being a sex object ("There are ten girls to every guy here. Go find your own ten girls."), and there's a formal experiment worthy of Hitchcock when, halfway through the big romantic duet, the film jumps forward to an eavesdropper's description of the duet: "And THEN he said, [crooning] 'I didn't know what year it was....' [shouting] HE DIDN'T EVEN KNOW WHAT YEAR IT WAS!" Essential viewing for the producers of America's Funniest Celluloid Closets.
Mold is both a before and an after.
New Yorker cartoon: "If it wasn't so sad, the plight of the urban poor would be quite amusing."
Our story begins four words ago -- which means we're already in the past tense and I'm tardy again. At that time....
The mural covering one wall of the Noe Valley cafe depicts smug colorfully clothed peasants picking (and, for unclear reasons, stomping) red coffee beans. All their feet are bare except for one Dorothy-Lamour-lookalike picker wearing a pair of stylish but sensible shoes. A rich thin woman and her four-year-old leave the cafe's toilet, the child clutching a new plush bunny. The woman says something to the child and asks me if I was waiting. I gesture assentingly. She says something else, more crossly, to the child, takes the toy away, and gestures with it towards me: "You want it?" I'm confused. She shakes the bunny at me impatiently: "Don't you want the key?" Holding it by its ear, I see the restroom key attached to a ring at its navel.
The attribution of inventions to gods, legendary heros, or emperors has a contemporary equivalent when CEOs publicly announce new products.
Forbies: animatronic financial advisors.
Free and direct discourse: The polarization of academic diction aligns up neat enough against the polarization of mundane diction to plunge us into utter obscurity.
In one way, it's true that everything is text. But in another way it's true that everything is a TV game show hosted by Richard Dawson.
Coming this fall: Leaves of Gas: The Collected Allen Ginsberg...
Some folks are allergic to footnotes, but they can be used beautifully. Maybe my favorite single book is a nineteenth-century edition of The Memoirs of the Count de Grammont in which the footnotes take up considerably more pages than the text, since each name mentioned by the gossipy Count links to a collection of all other gossip available on the character. This web of links gives us a sense of closed community too irresistibly energetic to seem truly claustrophobic -- at least when viewed safely from the outside.
They're good for the eye.
The more you tear, the more you cry.
The more you cry, the better you look.
So chop some onions when you cook.
Coming this fall: The Seven Habits of Highly Disgusting People
The appeal of writing fiction over the usual biter bit is the fresh air: out of the echo lab. The external comes as a relief when it comes. Interest enriched by empathy. Could say similar things about sex: self-pleasure as a lens that focuses other-pleasure.
The usual defenses against accusations of racism or sexism demean all parties; it's better to admit that that's one of the risks of associating with white American males.
While I had insomnia, I played Dean Martin. That's the game where you truncate an Italian celebrity's name as many syllables as needed to Americanize it. For example, movie producer Dean De Loren. My best effort this morning was the famous film couple Fed Felon and Juliet Mason.
The main thing I learned by keeping a diary was not to trust my impression of events.
Between vocations - What good is bullshitting when you don't have a field?
Everywhere I've browsed in the last week, I've seen links to a horrible misogynous disgusting pornographic poem.
Well, these are a few of my favorite things(1), and so I finally gave it a look. Oh man(2). What pretentious tripe(3).
Now back in my day(4), they knew horrible misogynous disgusting pornographic poetry. As witness this lyric by John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, which I often recite on public occasions(5).
After reading that, a palate-cleanser is called for. Unfortunately, most of Wilmot's best poems are too long for me to transcribe(6). But here's something suited to my age and position.
"Pirates of Silicon Valley" kept reminding me of another long poem by Wilmot -- not his best, but memorable -- to which I once referred in a discussion of nonverbal online communication:
When poet John Wilmot whipped off that tribute to Charles II's tiny brain and huge penis which ended: "I hate all kings and the thrones that they sit on / From the hector of France to the culley of Britain," he was banished from court.
Now imagine how much easier things would've been for him if he'd instead only written: "I hate all kings and the thrones that they sit on / From the hector of France to the culley of Britain. :-)"
The Hotsy Totsy Club is proud to announce the acquisition of a major new work by charter member Anselm Dovetonsils.
Honesty policy - A truth for a truth and a lie for a lie.
Last Saturday, a friend told me about Microsoft interviewing techniques. Least annoying sample question: "If you're using base negative two, how do you distinguish between odd and even integers?" Well, there's nothing like an arrogant geek for making really user-hostile interfaces, which explains the state of most Microsoft products. But now we have a different mystery: Why is that all Microsoft products are not equally crummy? (IE5, for example, is the best Web browser since Mosaic.)
The answer is temps. It seems that Microsoft doesn't subject temps to such "high hiring standards," thus opening a slim possibility for the accomplishment of useful work. To avoid rocking the arrogant geek boat, these temps are not judged by their performance ("We've set a hard rule: 364 days and these people are out. I don't care if they are rebuilding Windows 2000 by themselves, they are not going to work in this company."), and so Microsoft can be assured that they won't drain much needed funds away from, say, three of the world's five richest people.
For a different sort of geek, let's check in with The Finicky Browser:
Martin Scorsese: "Imitation of Christ.... Thank you very much, ladies and gentleman. And now: Jimmy Cagney...."
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