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Showing posts from July 29, 2001
Please read the 12:36 am post first. The New Colonist is a webzine. Not a lot of people have heard of it, but it does an ace job of reporting on urban culture and issues. Also, isn't it nice to see a webzine not go down like some junky cosmonaut, to quote a song? Eric Miller has a nice article on the abuse of eminent domain laws. AH, I know, I know -- those are sleepin' words, pardner - eminent domain. But while the legalese puts the good people to sleep, city honchos often operate as front men for corporations and developers by using the power to seize property in order to suppress "blight." Here's a quote from the piece: "But just what is blight? Can a business district will almost full retail occupancy be considered blighted? Can a discount store be labeled as blighted so that an upscale chain can move in? Can a golf course constitute blight? Can a working factory be labeled as blighted so that another factory can raze the plant to build a new faci
Calling Ralph Nadar - Last year, much heavy weather was made of Nadar's "betrayal" of the progressive cause by running against the oleaginous Al Gore, Among the organizations that berated Nadar's lese majeste was the Sierra Club. Well, Sierra Club, what do you think of your big dumb dead Dems now? According to a nice piece in the Times today, Bush's energy bill, routinely denounced by Dem bigshots when it was wheeled out, was quietly voted for by Dem bigshots when it was on the floor. Roll of Shame in a minute. First, two quotes from the NYT article: "One decisive factor appeared to be support for drilling and opposition to substantially higher fuel efficiency standards among Democratic members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Representatives Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, Edolphus Towns of New York, Earl F. Hilliard of Alabama and James E. Clyburn of South Carolina were among Mr. Bush's supporters on both measures. Each refused to comment."
This site is definitely a find: I've always wanted to like rock critics - to find that magic skipping style supposedly developed in the early seventies by Rolling Stone's best - but usually they disappoint me. Nick Tosches is an exception, at least in his history/extended muse on Country music, and his bio of Jerry Lee Lewis (the biography of Dean Martin, on the other hand, gets stuck in its own jam). But face it, rock critics have much more glamour than us poor book reviewers.
You never know what you're gonna find on the Net - still. For instance, the Paris Review has been putting up its interviews. The latest one is of Rick Moody . I have to get to the interview I am supposedly writing up today, although I've been so lazy lately I wonder if I should resist this undertow, this doggy inertia. Write me at the Editor
Annals of Business Life I've been following the news stories in the Times Business section about AremisSoft ever since the company claimed it had discovered the key to wealth in Bulgaria. According to its initial press release, the company was all set to sell the Bulgarian government something like a hundred million dollars worth of software - and then the Bulgarian government said, hey, wait a minute, we don't have that kind of money. It was all a scam, but as soon as this scam broke the surface in the news, the company execs and some brokers who'd been shilling AremisSoft stock counter-attacked, claiming this was a company of exemplary prospects being viciously attacked by shortsellers. Well, today's news is that the company "misplaced" its profits. Darn it, they'd stuffed that money in some old jar in the kitchen and just couldn't remember where. More Trouble for Maker of Software Here's my favorite quote from the article: "In ad
Everybody is talking about the rude obit of Katherine Graham crafted by some anonymous minion of Scaife's Pittsburg rag. The best part of the National Post article, by Mark Steyn, is this (first a quote from the Pittsburg article, then Steyn's comments): "She married Felix Frankfurter's brilliant law clerk, Philip Graham, who took over running The Post, which her father purchased at a bankruptcy sale. Graham built the paper but became estranged from Kay. She had him committed to a mental hospital, and he was clearly intending divorce when she signed him out and took him for a weekend outing during which he was found shot. His death was ruled a suicide. Within 48 hours, she declared herself the publisher." That's the stuff! As the Tribune-Review's chap has it, Mrs. G got her philandering spouse banged up in the nuthouse and then arranged a weekend pass with a one-way ticket. "His death was ruled a suicide." Lovely touch that. Is it really
Yesterday I promised the story of the Mirror spies. This comes from The Mirror, a history by Sabine Melchior-Bonnet. She found it in a nineteenth century historian, Elphege Fremy. The seventeenth century Venitian Republic was, as is well known, wealthy due, in part, to its monopoly on fine glasswork, and in particular its fine mirrors. The craftsmen who produced those mirrors were recipients of the hundred techniques handed down through two centuries that made Venice's mirrors the clearest, largest, and most expensive in Europe. The French, under Louis XIV, were jealous - especially Louis' financial minister, Colbert. Colbert decided to have the French ambassador to Venice entice a certain number of mirror masters to Paris, where the government could sponsor a factory. Being an early mercantilist, Colbert was firmly persuaded that the flow of wealth out of France for these mirrors was depleting the national economy. But there was a problem. The Venitians kept a close watch
Today's motto, which is startlingly pertinent to the weblog form, is from Jules Renard . Here's the quote: Le plus artiste ne sera pas de s'atteler � quelque gros oeuvre, comme la fabrication d'un roman, par exemple o� l'esprit tout entier devra se plier aux exigences d'un sujet absorbant qu'il s'est impos� ; mais le plus artiste sera d'�crire, par petits bonds, sur cent sujets qui surgiront � l'improviste, d'�mietter pour ainsi dire sa pens�e. De la sorte, rien n'est forc�. Tout a le charme du non voulu, du naturel. On ne provoque pas : on attend. Let's see, the translation goes roughly: What becomes the artist most isn't going to come out of harnessing oneself to some huge work, like the fabrication of a novel, where the spirit bows to the exigencies of a wholly absorbing subject it has imposed on itself; instead, it will come from writing, by little jumps, on a hundred subjects which spontaneously emerge - to crumble in
Hey, read the first post today first. Then this. Secrets to Spies. As I said in an earlier post, lately I have been working on a review of Body of Secrets for the Austin Chronicle. Now, my usual way of reviewing a book like this is to spend a lot of time researching matters extraneous to it � looking for an angle. I spend a lot of time in the library. In the real world, meanwhile, the Hanssen case has been in the news, a little memento mori from the Cold War era, for which our president is so nostalgic that he has decided to give us the 1980s redivivus if he can. Although I am fascinated with spying, I�m not unduly impressed by it. Intelligence had a tremendous impact on the behavior of the Allies in World War II � to name just two instances, the Sorge ring in Tokyo was crucial to the timing of Stalin�s resistance to Hitler in 1942, and the by now well known story of the breaking of the Enigma code obviously gave the Britain and the US a tremendous advantage in the Battle o
In one of his essays, Louis Marin speaks of a certain book of traps, written by a 16th century Venetian. What an evocative title that is! Traps, spies and secrets have always fascinated me. The secret itself has not, for some reason, been a large topic in philosophy, even though it is certainly a conceptually involuted trope. Secrets come in two types � first order secrets in which the content of the secret is secret, while the form (that is, that there is a secret there) is not; and second order secrets in which both the content and the form are secret. This rough division doesn�t really give us the essence of secrets, but it is a start. Obviously, not all instances of ignorance are instances of secrecy: that I went to highschool in Clarkston, Georgia, might not be known to my reader, but I am not �keeping� it a secret, nor would the reader presume that my high schooling was a secret, unless there was some contextual reason for thinking that this information was being deliberat
A little info link - the association for the study of dreams has an interesting page devoted to dreams in film. See what you think. Dream Videophile by Deirdre Barrett - Association for the Study of Dreams