Friday, February 25, 2011

Who was the first human being to look out a window?

I wrote this book for myself, and even that I can't be sure of.
- Roberto Bolano, in his introduction to Antwerp

Not having read anything but 2666 and a few short stories previously, I checked out a stack of Bolano's books a while ago, and just started reading them. Tragically, I seem to have chosen the best first. (it is the shortest)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2-line Movie Reviews #1: Monsters

Gareth Edwards's Monsters is definitely not disaster-porn, and does an excellent job depicting real, human reactions (alongside institutional reactions) to impending apocalypse. It is, however, emotion-porn and the main characters drag it down into the contrived almost too often to be enjoyable.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tyranny with style

Eye of the Storm is correct to point out that reactive, repressive government responses are not limited to the Middle East, Africa or the Persian Gulf, or the rest of the world outside of China in general, but tell me China doesn't have a delicate style to their scenes of repression:
At one point, the police surrounded a young man who had placed a jasmine flower on a planter outside the McDonald’s, but he was released after the clamor drew journalists and photographers.
Also, is it hypocritical to wish his line about us (or U.S., if you prefer) harboring a just so secret desire to emulate China garnered further development?

Thought Clutter

While I like the name of the blog, this post is not so much identifying any new emotions, much less *breathlessly* emotions created by the internet, as much as they are accounts of inner experiences, using previously existing emotions to describe new situations. Like, waiting for the bus is similar to waiting for the train is similar to waiting for the Pony Express is similar to waiting for returning Crusaders. Here is another "new" emotion: the aching knowledge that you need to come up with a pithy blog post to get Digg's attention to drive up GoogleAd rates.

Friday, February 18, 2011

You didn't have to tell it like it is!

While I am busy making purposely inane predictions about a child's game turned national opiate, Feral Scholar connects the dots pyramids.

Baseball Predictions #1

One of the most humanizing rituals in the world of sports punditry is the constant flood of predictions. There is, of course, the incessant augural columns on division and league winners, but sports seasons, and baseball in particular are long and full of all the mundaneness of any other aspect of life. This gives plenty of material for our syndicated seers to divine deep meanings from. So, in an effort to create without creativity, I will be making numerous and near-constant predictions on anything even tangentially related to baseball this 2011 season.

Baseball Prediction #1 - This was the biggest week of news for the St. Louis Cardinals.

First, a brief description of all the news:

1) Cardinals refuse/neglect/prove incompetent in their attempt to sign an extension for World's Greatest Baseball Player Albert Pujols. The local, daily mouthpiece of Cardinals' ownership has a few different deals supposedly offered, while a local radio gadfly reported the Cardinals presented a shockingly low offer.

2) Stan Musial is awarded the Medal of Freedom after a successful campaign by St. Louis sports fans, perhaps finally removing a humongous chip from their shoulder.

3) Jim Edmonds retires. The probably-not-a-Hall-of-Famer (unless there is a Hall of Fame of running into the outfield wall/diving onto the warning track) just signed a minor league deal to return to the Cardinals, but hurt his foot before reporting to spring training.

Any one of those three stories could have fueled the local media for at least a week. I think it is safe to say that no 7-day period will have three stories objectively (????) as big as this week. Even if you think "insulted free agent opts not to re-sign with cheapskate and chronically average team" is a big story, and it happens in the same week as a World Series victory, that is only 2 of 3.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Every clock I hang on my walls quickly grinds to a halt

I used to blog (Digression: I hate that word as a verb. I know one should try to avoid hate, for a variety of reasons, and even then one should try to avoid hating the inconsequential, like words, but I hate that word as a verb.) about synchronicity. While reading this, I received an email referring to a class from 14 months ago as "upcoming." If only I would get such second-chances.

Anyway, in this present, I have to consistently remind myself that with age, wisdom does not come to all. Nearly everything I have written in the past seems putrid when I read it today. Vocabulary peacockery masquerading as insight. I still look back on the finality of the writer's block that hit me about 10 years ago with frustration, though. Every once and awhile a real gem would shine through, even if it were a brief clause. Was that all wasted time, though? I mean, I remember looking at beaches or mountains or simply the serene joy of riding a back around a foreign town without any worry of necessary appearances. Sometimes I, too, think 'i could have been writing or reading this or that.' I don't publicly flail myself for having such digressions, though. We live in an age of fetishes. Reading, formal education (and how to organize it), our own lives, etc. This list is as long as their are ideas. In my young age, with my gray hairs, I have learned that life is happiest not spent focusing too closely on what one is doing, rather than doing it. (with all connotations intended)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Dude Abides

One thing I like about 6thor7th and Rojonekku is that they are both blogs about normal people trying to maintain a grasp on humanity in an increasingly automated and digitized world. I guess it should come as no surprise, then, when Ethan acts like a human being.

Albertmageddon

There is a certain logic to thinking that paying a (probably possibly) 45 year old man $30 million to play baseball is crazy, but there is also logic behind the idea that it is nice to have the Best Player in Baseball on your team, and all money is fake so who cares anyway?

Don't want this.

Reading Recommendations

Why wait for the new edition of The Revolution of Everyday Life? In fairness to the bizarre recommendation matrix Borders must use, one of those books is on my desk at this moment. I'm not very confident that I will "like" it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Illuminating

David Keene the founder and out-going chairman of C-PAC told the gathering that the most entertaining way to communicate the C-PAC messages of liberty, free enterprise and conservativism [sic] would be to simply have Ray Stevens sing all evening.


Undoubtedly.

Strikeforce 2/12/11 Recap

The craggy Urals
drowning in sticky red blood.
This is Fedor's face.

(Link may be NSFW. It is kind of bloody.)

Friday, February 11, 2011

A further thought

Then again, Obama, if we are to judge him by his public statements, does seem to honestly believe that the replacement of a MBA-carrying, self absorbed, power worshiping, ultimately timid and uncaring despot with a J.D.-carrying, self absorbed, power worshiping, ultimately timid and uncaring despot through establishment and establishment-serving mechanisms was some revolutionary moment in history, or History even. I can imagine that, in that mindset, a revolution in favor of wage-slavery seems entirely plausible.

Late to the party

At least I am not so tone deaf:

I'm also confident that the same ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that the young people of Egypt have shown in recent days can be harnessed to create new opportunity, jobs and businesses that allow the extraordinary potential of this generation to take flight.

I'm also confident that the same ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that the young people of Egypt have shown in recent days will not find adequate expression working in call centers, or whatever the president thinks hopes is going to happen there.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

From The Museum of Eterna's Novel (The First Good Novel) by Macedonio Fernandez

The moment the reader falls into Hallucination, that ignominy of Art, I have lost rather than gained a reader. What I want is something very different, which is to win him over as a character, so that for an instant he believes that he himself does not live. This is the emotion for which he should thank me, since until now no one has thought of procuring it for him.


But what is the book? The City of Dreadful Night? William Skidelsky doesn't like biopics or bio-pics, although I'm not entirely sure why. Is "fictionalizing" history that abhorrent? If so, is it more or less abhorrent than "fictionalizing" the present? Mankind has always harbored a great number of fools and morons, and current trends in revisionist history-as-entertainment are unlikely to have any noticeable effect on this particular trait of our species.

An option: read good novels and enjoy them. Think about how they affect your day. Maybe even decide to view each coming day through the lens of a beloved book. Today is The Trial and tomorrow is Grendel.