Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Hero With a Thousand Faces

In the absence of an effective general mythology, each of us has his private, unrecognized, rudimentary, yet secretly potent pantheon of dream. The latest incarnation of Oedipus, the continued romance of Beauty and the Beast, stand this afternoon on the corner of Forty-second Street and Fifth Avenue, waiting for the traffic light to change.
- Joseph Campbell

Friday, July 25, 2008

the dead and the art of surprise

Film/theater critic Steven Vineburg has a great article on the art of surprise, which he describes as "the turn you don’t expect just because it’s so true to life, and life is never predictable, yet when you see it or hear it you think, 'Of course.' "

His description of the end of James Joyce's "The Dead" had me tearing up a little bit, I'll be honest. Looks like its time to give that one another go-round.

Gretta cries herself to sleep remembering this old love, and Gabriel moves, in a breathtaking arc, from bitterness and resentment at being closed out of the grand passion of her life, to an acceptance—the first he’s ever felt—that he belongs to something greater than himself, to a commonality that includes everyone he’s known, both the living and the dead.


Apparently, Salvador Dali used to take a nap while holding a spoon in his hand. As soon as he would drift off into sleep and lose consciousness, the spoon would fall to the floor and make a loud clanging sound. Dali would wake up from the sound with the beginnings of his dream fresh in his mind - and then paint whatever he was dreaming about.


Is it strange that Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman remind me, in theory, of Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Measuring cups that look like tiny pots

Meghan calls this "metakitchen."

Mark Twain without his moustache

Makes me uncomfortable.


"Hundertwasserhaus is a low-income apartment block in Vienna, which features undulating floors ("an uneven floor is a melody to the feet"), a roof covered with earth and grass, and large trees growing from inside the rooms, with limbs extending from windows."

The architect designed it for free, in order to "prevent something ugly from going up in its place."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Kay Nielsen

I don't really know what's going on in this, but the colors made me feel comfortable.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Antony Gormley

Field for the British Isles, 1993

Another Place, permanent installation at Crosby Beach, Merseyside, England, 2005

There is so much more here.

Forty Stories

"I always say to myself, 'What is the most important thing I can be thinking about at this minute?' But then I don't think about it."

Donald Barthelme

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Things you might not know about Christopher Walken

In 35 years, he's been in over 90 films, because he rarely turns down offers. He thinks saying "Christopher" sounds like sneezing, so he calls himself, "Chris." His eyes are different colors. He worked as a lion tamer when he was 15.

In direct contrast to my previous post about racing, he has a phobia of going too fast in cars. He once said, "I believe in saving money. I believe in having a house. I believe in keeping things clean. I believe in exercising. Slow and steady is a very good thing for me. It works for me."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mary Bruce

...aka The Honorable Mrs. Victor Bruce. She was a pilot in the early 20th century and also a speed car racer. She once drove a car for 70 hours straight. She was the first woman called into the London police court for speeding on her brother's motorcycle, when she was 15. She flew across the world after a few weeks of flying lessons. When she was 81, she drove around a racetrack at 110 mph.

According to the website I linked to above, she said that going slow always made her tired.

The School by Donald Barthelme

Really short and really good. Read it here.

As I was going to the blog to post this, I wondered to myself, "Has Meghan posted this before?" And instead of writing the blog address, I wrote, which I realized could be the title of my autobiography, because I am friends with a lot of Meghans.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

some songs I like right now

Wilco - Shot in the Arm

Beck - Walls

My Morning Jacket - Heartbreakin' Man

Things I found while working

The milkman makes his rounds in London, after an air raid.

Cows killed in war.

Parade float in 1932


Mark Twain

A George Saunders essay inspired me to re-read Huck Finn. I'm glad I did, because I found gems like this:

"There warn't no color in his face, where his face showed; it was white, not like another man's white, but a white to make a body sick, a white to make a body's flesh crawl - a tree toad white, a fishbelly white."


It's poor quality footage, but it's kind of incredible. Thank you Shane.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Pre-Columbian sounds

"Scientists were fascinated by the ghostly find: a human skeleton buried in an Aztec temple with a clay, skull-shaped whistle in each bony hand. But no one blew into the noisemakers for nearly 15 years. When someone finally did, the shrill, windy screech made the spine tingle.

"Roberto Velazquez believes the Aztecs played this mournful wail from the so-called Whistles of Death before they were sacrificed to the gods."

This makes me think of Julio Cortazar short stories. More here.

Museum part two


Picturing the museum

I want to spend all day and night at this website. It's hard to choose what pictures to put up. I'm not posting the pictures that scare me, but if you want to see one, go here.

Cathedral of antlers

I'd sure like to go

Royal Jelly

According to Wikipedia:

Royal jelly is a honey bee secretion that is used in the nutrition of the larvae. It is secreted from the hypopharyngeal glands in the heads of young workers and used (among other substances) to feed all of the larvae in the colony, including those destined to become workers. If a queen is needed, a larva is chosen and will receive only royal jelly — and in large quantities — as its food source for the first four days of its growth, and this rapid, early feeding triggers the development of queen morphology, including the fully developed ovaries needed to lay eggs.

Monday, July 7, 2008