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Archives for August 2009

The sign of judgment: the earth will begin to sweat

There was a time when I spent a lot of time in public libraries. They’re great places for the intellectually curious and the financially challenged. Then I became a public librarian — and became jaded towards the library-going experience. Then I became an academic librarian; and now, after some years in academia, I am still fairly ruined for the joys of public library patronage. But I do enjoy poking my head in from time to time. So, the other day, while waiting for Walgreens to fill a prescription of antibiotics for my daughter’s infected mosquito bite, I ventured into the nearby branch of the local public library system.

Among the gems I found while browsing the stacks was this: 1000: A Mass for the End of Time by a group of golden-throated ladies called Anonymous 4. I’m listening to it right now, and thumbing through the notes, including the Latin text with parallel English/French/German translation. The first line of the Processional Hymn is notable:

Judicii signum, tellus sudore madescit.

The sign of judgment: the earth will begin to sweat.

A prophetic reference to global warming? A description of New Orleans in August? In any case, quite an image, and a beautiful apocalyptic liturgy pulled from a millenium past.

"He must increase, I must decrease."

Happy Feast of the Decollation of John the Baptist, everyone!

(Photo, of course, is of the Mitsui original in my living room. Creepy Catholics!)

If anybody needs me, I’ll be huddled in the corner, sobbing and burbling, "Ten years! Ten lousy years!"

Amelia Lester, 26 Year Old Former Fact Checker, is the New Managing Editor of The New Yorker.

Pizza Night

Sharp-eyed viewers will note that the sausage pizza shown under construction here is perhaps not as round as a hand-tossed pizza might be. The truth is that, while these photos do have the virtue of being unstaged, the dough-tossing shot is taken from a later pizza – there were six in all, made in honor of William Wilson, Guitarist Extraordinaire, who had a birthday to deal with. The dough proved a bit sticky just out of the gate, and this first pizza was rolled only.

Twit My Dad Says

Twitter has never really made sense to me until now. Some guy named Justin, 28 years old and living with his parents, is simply twittering various things his dad says. My favorite:

“The dog don’t like you planting stuff there. It’s his backyard. If you’re the only one who shits in something, you own it. Remember that.”

Pictures for Car Story

Story is here. Click to enlarge

Red Ink XI

The Concord Coalition Plausible Baseline, created using the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) updated projections, shows that current policy would lead to $14.4 trillion in deficits over the next 10 years.

That’s double the forecast of 7 trillion, just a few weeks ago. In trillions of dollars.

How big is a trillion? 1,000,000,000,000. That’s not so big, is it? A zero here, a zero there; what’s the difference?

Is there another way to visualize this? Try this. Or maybe this will make it more clear.

Surely this “Concord Coalition” is rag-tag group of right wing nut jobs, a bunch of tea-baggers straight out of one of those Town Hall meetings, right?


Plus ca change…

“Mention art to a film magnate, and he will laugh in your face. ‘Listen, brother,’ he will say, after the guffaws have subsided, ‘the motion pictures are made for the square-heads out in Kalamazoo, not for the highbrows in Greenwich Village – and the square-heads want entertainment, not art.’ It is useless to argue that art may conceivably be entertainment; art, in Hollywood, is regarded as a dull, dry, esoteric and highly unprofitable property which is to be shunned religiously by all those who have the best interests of the exhibitor’s box office at heart. Charlie Chaplin is, and always has been, the living refutation of this absurd doctrine.”
– R.E. Sherwood, writing in Vanity Fair during the run-up to Charlie Chaplin’s 1925 film, The Gold Rush.

In other, rather more modern Vanity Fair news, the New Mexico Nurse sends word that the Summer of Death has claimed Dominick Dunne. Dunne was one of what is surely a dying breed – not just a journalist who covered celebrities, but a celebrity journalist.

Have you ever thought about what protects our hearts?

Touching bottom?

At a certain point, sloth and self-loathing cease to be funny. Or as funny as they used to be, anyway. I’ve got a stack of things to read that has gotten silly. Gonna try to give a little of each evening to them. (He wrote, blogging at night…)