Thursday, January 07, 2016

Fleeting Moments in Ghostly Cold River

'It's important to live your life by a motto. I chose to live my life by the motto, 'My enemy's enemy is my friend.' Unfortunately, as it turns out, my enemy is his own worst enemy. So, I have to invite him to barbecues.'
~Richard Herring (July 12, 1967 -) No one makes as many enemies as MEdia Dragon ... The worse thing than being talked about is not being talked about by your enemies ;-)

Much is lost with our knowingness and deft deployment of irony. We become actors. We play to an audience, real or imagined, external or otherwise. We don’t merely enjoy a meal, a sonnet or a beautiful woman. We study ourselves in the act of enjoyment, looking for ways to improve our form. We fear an unsophisticated reaction to the world and its bounty. The Scottish essayist Alexander Smith was no rube, but he knew how to enjoy life: 

“The intensest scarlet on an artist’s palette is but ochre to that I saw this morning at sunrise. No, no, let me enjoy Mr. Tennyson’s verse, and the blackbird’s song, and the colours of sunrise, but do not let me emulate them. I am happier as it is. I do not need to make history,—there are plenty of people willing to save me trouble on that score. The cook makes the dinner, the guest eats it; and the last, not without reason, is considered the happier man.” `You Double Your Existence at Double Dragon Publishing'

Sidney Mintz told stories that no one else bothered to tell. His eye for both big ideas and small details changed how history is done and read today... Big ideas and small detail  

Bra Beach Picnic

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. ~ Khalil Gibran

"Money may not immediately kill people in the way terrorism does," says Luc Sante, "but it does change the fabric of daily life in much deeper and more insidious ways" Never enough ...

The river men told prison stories, drinking stories, lost dog stories, and tales of their years on the road. Ren was a good listener and quickly understood there were strict rules governing how a story was told and listened to. Interjections were occasionally allowed, by way of a jeer or a hand shooting into the air, requesting a point-of-order. Big Tiny was the most common culprit in that regard. Other stories were sacred, recited in hushed tones and observed in silence, except for the crack and groan of the fire
Stories of the river were told across the city.  There wasn’t a child living within reach of the water who hadn’t grown up warned away from it with tales of dead trees lurking in the darkness of the muddy riverbed, ready to snatch the leg of a boy or girl braving its filthy waters.  Rusting skull and crossbones signs, hammered into tree trunks around the old swimming holes, warned of infection.  There were also the horror stories of children who disappeared on sunny afternoons never to be seen again, leaving piles of clothing behind on the riverbank, waiting for a parent or the police to discover the telling evidence.  It wasn’t only children who drowned.  As well as the suicides there were the accidents.  People fishing fell out of boats from time to time and went straight down to the bottom, weighed down by heavy clothes and boots.  A dark joke claimed that drowning was a more fortunate end, as eating a fish caught in the river would cause a slower and more painful death ... Ghost River, by Tony Birch [Other reviews are at The Australian; The Guardian and the SMH]

Nature’s Warning Signal The Atlantic. “The signal, a phenomenon called ‘critical slowing down,’ is a lengthening of the time that a system takes to recover from small disturbances

When the heroes of one era become the villains of another, the past is refought by the stone and bronze statues of piazzas, parks, and city  streets ...

George Lucas hits out at ‘retro’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens Guardian

George Lucas compares Disney to ‘white slavers’ that bought his children The Verge

Do Hansel and Gretel have inner lives? Not according to Phillip Pullman. "There is no psychology in a fairy tale," he insists —  wrongly ...

Sir Terry Pratchett remembered by his daughter, Rhianna Pratchett Guardian

Kentucky’s Mall St. Matthews Shuts Down After Brawls Involving Up to 2,000 NBC. (Seems to be a thing? Black Friday.)

Imaginary Tiger at Little Bay

. . . a civilized hour for a cold beer and a go at Moby Dick, the reading of which has been a reminder of what a first-rate writerly intellect – Melville’s, an intellect not inflamed by a 24/7 news cycle - feels, smells, sounds, tastes, and looks like.”`A First-Rate Writerly Intellect'
Paranoid: North Korea’s computer operating system mirrors its political one Reuters

Former top Chinese official commits suicide after landslide disaster Reuters. Chinese officials more honorable than our own, We guess...

James Doyle: On Writing is a selection of extracts from Charles Bukowski’s previously unpublished letters that collect his thoughts, frustrations and delight in learning the craft of writing. Every letter contains something quotable, or worth stealing to use as your own, and provokes admiration for Bukowski’s dedication. They display his fifty years of commitment to refining that Bukowski voice (a voice of uncluttered honesty, and equally honest awareness of his own, other people’s and the world’s faults) that has become one of the most identifiable styles among contemporary writers. Throughout the letters, and their tales of drunken disaster, poverty, the jobs and women that occur in his novels, short stories and poetry, the only constant is Bukowski’s time at the typewriter (or pen and paper when he sold the typewriter for drinking money): “the words are forming and churning, spinning and flying for me. The older I get, the more this magic madness seems to fall upon me.


My ambition is to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a book — what everyone else does not say in a book.
— Friedrich Nietzsche
 Yes, everything’s already been said. But not by you.
— Eric Jarosinski (deleted tweet)

EVERY ERA has its doomsayers who declare that eloquence is on the brink of extinction. Ours is no exception. Nein. A Manifesto

The Origins of Totalitarianism Part 2: Antisemitism Ed Walker, emptywheel. Since we are no longer getting regular doses of Hannah Arendt in comments…

Piketty vs. Piketty Brad DeLong, Project Syndicate 

John Quiggin Antipodean Crooked Timber Pro Piketty seminar

The Opium Wars, Neoliberalism, and the Anthropocene LA Review of Books

The keyboard and the spade New Statesman Subhead: “In the overdeveloped West, technology is making us forget what it truly means to be human.”

Whole Foods to Pay $500K to End Overcharging Investigation TakePart. Employees eyeballed the weights?
*Unprecedented Water Levels Along the Mississippi Spark Evacuations Time
*Unprecedented security set for California’s Rose Parade, Rose Bowl Reuters
*Worries grow over ‘strongest El Nino’ BBC
*The year market economists failed to see coming Sydney Morning Herald