Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Most anyone who has ever had any sort of survey course in literature knows those collossal potpurris of canon known as Norton anthologies. (I, personally, adore anthologies of all strips. I just love being able to flip through and sample all kinds of literary output.) The paper they use for Nortons is creamy, smooth, and delightfully tactile. And the smell is... I don't know what it smells like, really, but it brings a smile to my face every time I breath it in. I'm most likely totally singular in my appreciation of this particular scent, but that's okay. It's all part of my charm!
Monday, May 30, 2005
"The Thames" (1876) by James Tissot
Here's what Holland Cotter had to say about this picture in Friday's New York Times:
It depicts a man with two women of questionable respectability surveying the river from the deck of a boat, equipped with a picnic and Champagne. It is one of the few paintings in the show ["Monet's London: Artists' Reflections on the Thames, 1859-1914" at the Brooklyn Museum until Sept. 4.] that actually situate us on the Thames, at water level. It is also one of the few pictures in which people play a significant role, and fogs and mists almost none.
Here we see, without filters, hard details of an insalubrious city, its water and air colored the same greasy gray-brown. The wall of ships in the background makes the reality of British sea power, the strength of the empire, look at once commanding and ignoble, even brutal. The same description might apply to the man stretched out on the boat in the foreground, a representative of the new urban culture whose view of the world is self-confidently proprietary, the opposite of soft.
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Who knew porn stars were so lightsaber proficient?
Saturday, May 28, 2005
(Via The Irascible Professor)
Friday, May 27, 2005
The spring pollen is giving me a little trouble (damn plants and their reproductive vectors!), causing some minor stuffiness. To counteract this, I took two Benadryls last night at around 9 o'clock. Within an hour or two, I was feeling a bit groggy, so I went to bed at 1:30 A.M. instead of the 5:00 A.M. I've been falling asleep at. I slept for two hours, woke up at 3:30, laid awake for two hours, went back to sleep, and didn't get up until 4:30 (which is actually a little earlier than usual for me of late). I've spent the rest of the day feeling woozy and a little groggy, and not in a nice way. And the Benadryl didn't even really help with the stuffiness that much! I will never take Benadryl again!
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Meanwhile, "jumping the shark" officially jumps the shark. (Thank you, Mr. Brian Oberkirch! I've always hated that phrase.)
(Via Bookslut via Blogebrity, which lists the A-, B-, and C-List bloggers. Shamefully, I'm nowhere to be found on any list! Perhaps I'll get on the W-List, right above one of those cat blogs.)
What's wrong with these kids who want to read only contemporary literature because they can't relate to older stuff? I'm as against Moby Dick and Great Expectations as anyone, but that doesn't mean I want to read some YA crap that seem to be nothing more than attempts by the authors to see how fucked up/"multicultural" of a story they can create. ("Hey, I should write a novel about the plight of Native American migrant prostitute child-amputees! It'll be so educational!)
Monday, May 23, 2005
Grammarians come in two flavors. A descriptivist studies the way people use a language, while a prescriptivist tries to lay down the rules of a language.Amen, brother!
Prescriptivists are assholes. Ignore them.
(Via Languagehat, another bastion of sane descriptivism.)
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Damn, I'm Luke! How boring! Personally, I've always seen myself as C-3PO, or, as one reviewer put it, "a gay, gold-plated Jeeves."
Speaking of Star Wars, I saw Revenge of the Sith today. I really have to see it again to formulate a firm opinion, but, overall, I quite enjoyed it. Hayden Christensen was better in the Darth Vader role than I'd anticipated, the effects were dazzling, and there were some really cool fight scenes. The destruction of the Jedi stands out as a surprisingly moving sequence. But my favorite scene is between Yoda and the Emperor (probably the best characters in the movie), who have a truly kick-ass interaction. Oh, and it's really, really, really freaky how much like Alec Guinness Ewan McGregor looks like in this movie.
The one truly discordant note was the whole "romance" between Anakin and Padme. Portman and Christensen have no chemistry whatsoever (because he's a big 'mo, Eva Longoria!) and their dialogue... oh, the dialogue! Their sweet nothings are simply groan-enducing. Poor Natalie Portman! She doesn't really have anything to do in this one other than speak the worst love-talk in cosmic history and be pregnant, so her performance isn't exactly scintillating. I don't blame her, either! Also, there weren't as much Wookiee as I'd have liked.
All in all, though, I think it easily surpassed the other two prequels (no real feat there, of course) and completed the story well. And to all the haters: fuck off! If nerds want to get all excited about a movie, let them! I think you look like much bigger fools running around trying to rain on everyone's parade than the people out in costumes have a grand old time.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
The vagaries of literary obscurity are discussed here. To be forgotten is one of my greatest fears. Some cultures believed that it wasn't until you were no longer remembered that you actually died. That's the only thing about not having children that saddens/frightens me: there will be no one to remember me when I die.
A very nice rememberance of Iris Chang, the author of The Rape of Nanking. I still haven't gotten around to reading her work, but I always avidly watched any and all television appearances she made. She was a very interesting speaker. I remember last year thinking, "Wonder what Iris Chang is working on?" Not too long later, I heard that she had committed suicide. Very tragic.
(Via Bookslut, Bookninja, and Maud Newton)
I promise a more upbeat post later. Sorry if I depressed anyone!
Friday, May 20, 2005
Also, who knew penguins were so long-lived? And guess where I'll be heading the next time I'm in NYC?
(Via Bookslut and Maud Newton, respectively.)
Thursday, May 19, 2005
The world premiere of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith is upon us. I won't be seeing it until Saturday, probably, but I have to send out my well-wishes to my nerd/geek brethren and sistren (yes, there are girls who like Star Wars; lots of them) who see the movie on this most special and holy of days. May the Force be with you all!
P.S. Aren't these two adorable? "Yes, Master," indeed!
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
(Via The Little Professor)
Speaking of "funk," how 'bout this utterly sacrilegious picture? If you know any religion-nuts you dislike, send it to them and watch their heads explode from the sheer blasphemy of it all. Better yet, wait for the actual movie to come out and send that to them!
Monday, May 16, 2005
Sunday, May 15, 2005
(Via Something Awful, which I recommend because it has lots of funny stuff to read.)
Saturday, May 14, 2005
In honor of my graduation and imminent entrance into the workforce, I'll list some dream jobs.
College President: As near as I can tell, all a college president does is go to ceremonies, make boring speeches, shake hands, and occasionally go to parties to kiss potential donor ass. I could do that!
Porn Scriptwriter: Hey, someone has to come up with the scintillating dialogue! Why not me?
Librarian: Though you might think that this is simply a standard bibliophile's dream, the reason I would be a librarian isn't to be surrounded by books all day (though that would be nice). No, it's because, judging by all of the librarians I've ever come in contact with, they do absolutely nothing all day! Even checking out a book seems to tax and inconvenience them. I'm a lazy bum, I could do nothing all day!
Gym Teacher: I'm out of shape, so it would seem I fit the main criterion for a gym teacher! Seriously, most of the gym teachers I've ever seen aren't exactly David-esque specimens. And, true, I don't like sports and can't play them, but that doesn't matter, because gym teachers don't actually do sports, they just tell you to go play baseball or something while they stand around and talk.
So, if anyone knows of an opening for college president, porn screenwriter, librarian, or a gym teacher, let me know!
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
(You know, it'd be really cool if one of the professors at my school did what she did. I'd love to see what they really think about us!)
Besides becoming a medical marvel, Hunter has also just been interviewed by the incorrigible, and now webponymous, Perez Hilton (who is most certainly "not affiliated or associated with, nor authorized by, NYP Holdings, Inc., the New York Post or Page Six"). Nothing spectacular, but a nice, quick read nonetheless.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
1) Well, I guess I'm a "plebeian" and a "Jacobin" regressing into "preadolescent nerdishness," because I too am a lover of encyclopedias, that "lowest form of secondary literature"! The disdain of academics, as Mr. McLemee points out, isn't entirely unjustified, but I don't care. Many is the hour I amuse myself with the random perusal of reference works. And it's not every day I find that I have something in common with Aldous Huxley (though I'm not so alphabetical about it)!
2) Last week, I linked to an apoplectic journalism professor. This week, the cause of his apoplexy responds. Frankly, I think they're both being a bit petty and unprofessional. I still say that a "Department of Cinema & Comparative Literature" is a weird pairing, too.
3) I find out that my dreams of becoming an English professor is in jeopardy because English is dead. Frankly, I'm just not convinced by her argument (which isn't all that clearly written, BTW). John Martin in the comments section pretty much sums up my reaction.
Monday, May 09, 2005
Sunday, May 08, 2005
John WilmotNothing, thou elder brother even to shade,
That hadst a being ere the world was made,
And (well fixed) art alone of ending not afraid.
Ere time and place were, time and place were not,
When primitive Nothing Something straight begot,
Then all proceeded from the great united—What?
Something, the general attribute of all,
Severed from thee, its sole original,
Into thy boundless self must undistinguished fall.
Yet Something did thy mighty power command,
And from thy fruitful emptiness’s hand,
Snatched men, beasts, birds, fire, air, and land.
Matter, the wickedest offspring of thy race,
By Form assisted, flew from thy embrace,
And rebel Light obscured thy reverend dusky face.
With Form and Matter, Time and Place did join,
Body, thy foe, with these did leagues combine
To spoil thy peaceful realm, and ruin all thy line.
But turncoat Time assists the foe in vain,
And, bribed by thee, assists thy short-lived reign,
And to thy hungry womb drives back thy slaves again.
Though mysteries are barred from laic eyes,
And the Divine alone with warrant pries
Into thy bosom, where thy truth in private lies,
Yet this of thee the wise may freely say,
Thou from the virtuous nothing takest away,
And to be part of thee the wicked wisely pray.
Great Negative, how vainly would the wise
Inquire, define, distinguish, teach, devise?
Didst thou not stand to point their dull philosophies.
Is, or is not, the two great ends of Fate,
And true or false, the subject of debate,
That perfects, or destroys, the vast designs of Fate,
When they have racked the politician’s breast,
Within thy bosom most securely rest,
And, when reduced to thee, are least unsafe and best.
But Nothing, why does Something still permit
That sacred monarchs should at council sit
With persons highly thought at best for nothing fit?
While weighty Something modestly abstains
From princes’ coffers, and from statesmen’s brains,
And Nothing there like stately Nothing reigns,
Nothing, who dwellest with fools in grave disguise,
For whom they reverend shapes and forms devise,
Lawn sleeves, and furs, and gowns, when they like thee look wise.
French truth, Dutch prowess, British policy,
Hibernian learning, Scotch civility,
Spaniard’s dispatch, Dane’s wit are mainly seen in thee.
The great man’s gratitude to his best friend,
King’s promises, whore’s vows, towards thee they bend,
Flow swiftly to thee, and in thee never end.
Online text © 1998-2005 Poetry X. All rights reserved.
Saturday, May 07, 2005
I'm not a "Soccer Mom," but I hope to someday be a "Soccer DILF" (without actually being a father, of course).
"Congratulations, you're a swing voter. When they say 'Soccer Mom', they mean you. Every Democratic ad on the TV set was made just for your viewing enjoyment. Don't you feel special?"
Yes, I do, in fact, feel special!
(Via OPIEblue, a hot redheaded boy from Idaho who offers, "Ongoing commentary from a red-headed step-child on Comic books, the News Media, Pretty Men, Raising a puppy in NYC and Comparisons Between California and New York......")
Friday, May 06, 2005
Another guru of language is Dr. Stephen Andrew Chrisomalis, proprietor of The Phrontistery, an absolutely marvelous site dedicated to rare and obscure words. There are glossaries and links and all kinds of other things, too. It's simply brilliant! You'll get lost for hours looking at all the weird and wonderful words the English language has cooked up over the centuries.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Has the man actually watched Golden Age (Seasons 4-6) Next Generation or Deep Space Nine (almost any season)? That's lots of compelling and interesting science fiction right there. Even Voyager and Enterprise had their moments. And lots of Trekkers are very sophisticated science fiction aficionados who read all of the authors and watch all of the shows he cites, so his whole premise (that we're just a bunch of juveniles who didn't know any better) is just plain wrong.
Trek is dead... for now. I'm actually glad it is; Voyager and Enterprise were terrible and there's just no creative juice left in the current franchise regime. In a few years, though, I'm confident it will return and people will fall in love all over again.
As you can tell from the overblown prose, I'm kinda freaking out (very chicly, of course) about it. I'm just so unprepared for the cruel, cruel world! Where on earth am I going to find a decent job? How in the hell will I be able to get up that early every day? It's just mindboggling.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
A journalism professor nearly had apoplexy when some young punk from the "Department of Cinema and Comparative Literature" (which, BTW, is a very odd pairing) said that Bob Woodward wasn't a very good journalist. I particularly love the comments at the bottom of the article; they're wonderfully bitchy! Who says well-educated academics can't act like a bunch of high school cheerleaders?!?!?
Why again exactly do I want to be a professor?
Speaking of "-eur", I swear that I once saw embroidered on the back of a cheesy jacket the words "AMATURE GOLDEN GLOVES". A quick Googling of "amature" reveals that it has been used nearly a million times, and the number is sure to increase as porn sites featuring "amature beastiality" and "free amature masterbation video" become ever more popular. It's things like this that make one fear for the future of humanity. The spelling, I mean: bestiality and self-abuse have been around for a long time.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Monday, May 02, 2005
Someday, if I'm a reaaallly good boy, maybe I can get a gig like his and be at least half as good at it!
(Link via Bookninja)
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